Monday, February 6th, 2023
Monday, February 6th, 2023

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Creamy Tarragon Pheasant and Pheasant Back Mushrooms

While thoughts of spring mushroom hunting will be in our minds throughout the cold winter
months ahead of us, this recipe shared by Adam Berkelmans is one you can
try now by substituting the “Pheasant Back” mushroom with a
commercially available alternative.

Adam notes that pheasant backs (aka dryad’s saddles) can be found in the spring, growing as bracket fungus
on dead or dying trees near the base. He said they have an unmistakable
cucumber or watermelon rind scent. Pheasant backs dehydrate
exceptionally well and for beginning foragers, it is a great mushroom to
source. (As always, bring an experienced mushroom hunter with you to
identify them.) Harvest them when they are nice and tender, during the
same season as morel mushrooms. In the meantime, the French-style
preparation of this rich and delicious dish will have you holding back
some of your fall pheasant harvest to pair with thee fresh mushrooms
when spring rolls back around.


2 pheasant breasts, skin on if possible Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
2 tablespoons rendered pheasant fat or bacon fat or duck fat or vegetable oil
3 cups pheasant back mushrooms (Polyporus squamosus), tough bits trimmed, pores removed, and cut into small cubes
2 shallots, sliced thinly
1 teaspoon butter
¼ cup dry vermouth or white wine
1 cup pheasant or chicken stock
2 tablespoons fresh tarragon, chopped
¼ cup heavy cream

Directions: Serves: 2 Time to cook: 40 Minutes

Place the breasts in between two pieces of plastic wrap or waxed paper. Using a rolling pin
or meat mallet, gently pound the breasts down to about 1⁄2-inch thick.

Season both sides generously with salt and pepper. Add the fat or oil to a cast iron or stainless-steel pan over high heat.

Once hot, add the breasts, skin-side down, then hold them flat with a
spatula or small lid for 30 seconds so they don’t curl up. Sear for 3
minutes, flip, then sear for 1 more minute. Transfer the breasts to a
plate and set aside.

Turn the heat down to medium high and add the mushrooms to the pan. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring regularly.

Add the shallots, and cook for another 3 minutes or so.

Add the butter, let melt for 1 minute, then add the vermouth or wine and
cook until it mostly dissipates, scraping up anything stuck to the pan
with your spatula.

Add the stock and cook down for a few minutes until it becomes a creamy sauce.

Reduce heat to low, add tarragon and cream.

Use a slotted spoon to scoop out the mushrooms, dividing them evenly between two plates.

Pour any juices from the pheasant breasts into the pan sauce, then set the breasts on top of the mushrooms.

Spoon the creamy pan sauce over the pheasant and mushrooms. Garnish with fresh tarragon and serve immediately. Enjoy!

About the Chef:

Adam Berkelmans is the Intrepid Eater. He lives in eastern Ontario and
enjoys hunting, fishing, foraging, and gardening in order to acquire
real food, which he uses to create internationally inspired recipes.
Find him at, on Facebook as The Intrepid Eater, and on Instagram at the.intrepid.eater.

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