Pheasant Milano Supreme
By Chef and Author, Eileen Clarke
Chef Eileen shared, “Make this dish once and you may put the slow cooker in the basement for good. Why? The marinade—honeydew melon–. Why honeydew melon? It adds a bright flavor to all meats, including venison. But that bright flavor makes pale-meated upland birds like pheasant, chukars, forest grouse and Hungarian partridge really shine—while it also tenderizes. (Yes. This little honey is acidic.)
Gremolata is an Italian condiment of chopped parsley, garlic and lemon zest. It sounds like trouble, but a cheap zester makes that part easy and garlic and parsley reduce very easily in a mini-processor. Plus, you can make the gremolata ahead to save time.
Milano? That just means there’s heavy cream in your tomato sauce. Always a good choice. So make the dish, plate it up and mix the gremolata into the sauce at the table. Winter getting to you? The fresh vibrant flavor will wake you up! (And of course any pale-meated bird works for this dish.)”
The Marinade (See Eileen’s tips on crafting the marinade HERE)
1 pheasant, parted out 1 cup puréed honeydew melon chunks
Combine the pheasant meat–including drumsticks—and the honeydew purée in a re-sealable plastic bag. Marinate in the refrigerator 48-72 hours.
The Rest of the Ingredients:
For the Dish
2 tablespoons oil
1 onion, chopped coarsely
1 red sweet bell pepper, chopped coarsely
3 cloves garlic, minced
14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
½ cup heavy cream
3 cups cooked pasta
Grated Parmesan cheese
½ cup chopped parsley (One cup of whole parsley will give you ½ cup of minced.)
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons olive oil
Zest of 2 lemons
¼ teaspoon salt
⅛ teaspoon red pepper flakes
To prepare the gremolata: Chop the parsley and garlic in a mini grinder. Add the oil, lemon zest, salt and red pepper flakes. Cover and chill.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Remove the parted-out pheasant from the marinade, rinse and dry with paper towels. Place on a cutting board or platter between layers of paper towels.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of oil over medium heat in a 3-quart non-reactive Dutch oven. When the oil just begins to smoke, add the onion and red bell pepper and sauté until softened, about 5-6 minutes. Make a small space in the center of the pan, and add the minced garlic to it. Sauté until you start to smell the garlic, then mix it into the onions and peppers.
- Add the canned diced tomatoes, salt and pepper and bury the pheasant pieces in the sauce. Bring the mixture back up to a simmer, cover and put in the center of the oven. Bake about 45 minutes, until you can easily poke a sharp knife into the pheasant meat.
- Remove the pheasant pieces from the pot, and arrange them on 2 to 4 plates. On the stovetop over medium heat, add the cream, and stir it into the sauce until it is hot again. Add the cooked pasta to each plate and spoon the tomato/cream sauce over both pasta and meat. Divide the gremolata among the plates and serve with grated Parmesan cheese.
This recipe is from Tenderize the Wild: Marinades, brines and rubs for wild game, available, along with Eileen Clarke’s other cookbooks at her web site www.riflesandrecipes.com. (406-521-0273)