Pheasant in Cream Sauce

If you are one of the lucky hunters who've bagged a pheasant this October, then you will want to try this recipe for the dinner table. Pheasants--long considered a spectacular catch--far out-numer the grouse and quail in our area. Almost a yard long and with their elegant black velvety necks, they are some of the most beautiful birds in the world.

Half the fun is walking through Michigan's gorgeous fields and meadows this time of year and soaking in the colors and smells that abound. When a bird is flushed however, it gives your heart such a jump that you barely have the time to recover to make the shot. To make this Pheasant in Cream Sauce, you'll need:

2 TB                oil
1 ea.               small onion, diced
2 stalks            celery, diced
1 ea.               pheasant
1/8 cup             dry white wine
4 cups              chicken stock
1/4 head            cabbage, chopped up
1/2 cup             sour cream
1/4 cup             oil
3/4 cup             flour
to taste            salt and pepper

Place your 2 TB of oil in a stock pot and saute the onions and celery until clear. Remove the celery and onions and set aside. Cut the pheasant in half and brown the skin in the stock pot. Add the white wine and sauteed veggies with the chicken stock. Simmer three hours. In the last hour, add the chopped cabbage.

When the bird is tender, remove it with the veggies (using a slotted spoon), then thicken the stock with a roux (mix the 1/4 cup of oil with the flour then stir into the stock). Let simmer for 15 minutes. Add the sour cream and correct your seasonings (add salt and pepper to taste). Place the pheasant in the middle of a serving platter and surround it with the cooked veggies. Ladle the sauce over.

When the colder weather comes, my tastes go more towards red full-bodied wines. With this gamebird, try a Sonoma California wine from Windsor--Meritage. It's a softer blend that marries well with a pheasant in cream sauce. And as always, a good cook appreciates nature and what it has to offer. Watch out for the courting male pheasants, though. They sometimes fight to the death in the presence of their hens (who remain cool and aloof to the whole process). It's amazing what we can learn from nature, too!