Pheasant and Potato Soup

17 Oct

If you’re the kind of person that eats out at fancy restaurants, you may have ordered pheasant as a special treat. If you live in the Midwest are a hunter, or have a husband/father/brother/sister-in-law/husband’s uncle who hunts birds, you may have some in your freezer. If you fall into the second category, the idea of pheasant may not be as exciting to you as if you were in the first.

I’ve tried lots of pheasant recipes over the years and only once did it turn out great. Often it’s tough, or greasy, or gamey, or a combination of all three. The last time I made pheasant, no one would eat it. Not even one bite.

So now that it is fall, and hunting season is underway, it is a good time to line up some pheasant recipes that people will both EAT and ENJOY. Many pheasant recipes are heavy on the cream (or cream of mushroom soup), and since that doesn’t work at our house, I decided to try something a little lighter (and non-dairy). A broth-based soup, this recipe is light and packed with flavor. I wasn’t sure that I would like a soup made with pheasant, but thought it was wonderful and helped to reduce the gamey flavor that sometimes happens with wild birds.

Even though the soup was good, I still don’t like pheasant enough that I’d go out and buy some to make the soup. But if I had some in the freezer, I’d definitely make this recipe again to use it up.

Pheasant and Potato Soup
Serves 8

STOCK
1 pheasant
4 quarts water
2 stalks celery with leaves, coarsely chopped
1 onion, quartered
1 large carrot, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, halved
2 bay leaves
1 t. dried thyme
1 t. peppercorns
1 slice pepper bacon (uncooked)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

SOUP
2 slices pepper bacon
2 large carrots, sliced and halved (half moon shape)
1 onion, chopped
¼ t. caraway seeds
1 lb. red potatoes, halved and sliced 1/3” thick (half moon shape)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

In a large stockpot, place pheasant and cover with water. Bring to a boil, skimming off the white foam as it rises to the surface. Reduce heat and add celery, onion, carrot, garlic, bay leaves, thyme, peppercorns, and bacon. Season lightly with salt and pepper, partially cover and simmer on low for 2 hours.

Remove pheasant and set aside to cool. Line a colander with cheese cloth and strain solids. Set aside broth. Remove breast meat from pheasant and chop into bite‐sized pieces. Set aside (or refrigerate until use).

In a soup pot, cook bacon over medium heat. Remove bacon once crisp and set aside. Crumble bacon when cool. Add carrots, onion, and caraway seeds, cook until onion is softened. Add potatoes, cook for 1‐2 minutes then add 7 c. reserved stock. Bring to a boil, add reserved pheasant meat and crumbled bacon. Return to a boil, and then reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Print it: Pheasant and Potato Soup

Notes:
– This recipe starts out by making a stock – it was really easy and quite flavorful. I made a big batch of the stock by using two birds and doubling the rest. I’ll freeze the remaining stock and meat and save it for another time.
– In this recipe, I only used the breast meat. I found that while the rest of the meat on the bird was very tender, it was hard to make sure that there weren’t any little bones or inedible bits that were mixed in with the meat. The breast meat produced plenty for the soup. I tossed the rest.
– Watch out for shot. It does not make a good addition to any meal.

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