As I stood in front of the open freezer trying to decide what to prepare for my family’s meals for the week, first of all, I really enjoyed the wash of cold air. It’s been over 100 degrees every day for what seems like months here in South Texas. Secondly, I discovered several items that weren’t immediately identifiable in the freezer door. Should I thaw them out and throw them into a mystery stew? Not without a little bit of guilt! I guess every deerslayer’s wife has encountered this dilemma at some time or other. No one likes to waste food. Especially when it was stalked and harvested by a loved one. Ladies, this is no time to be creative! When you grab a plastic bag from the freezer and can’t see beyond the ice crystals and dried bits of unidentifiable flesh, just say “no” and toss it out. Your family will thank you.
I did find some pheasant! Circumstances dictate that our pheasant comes to us skinned. It’s faster and easier to process that way and I’ve come up with a couple of recipes that work with the naked little boogers.
To prepare peeled pheasant, I always boil the meat so that I end up with some nice pheasant stock. I rinse the meat and quarter it or throw the whole damned thing in a large pot. Then I cover it with water, toss in some chopped carrots, celery, onion, and a bay leaf and boil the hell out of whole mess until the meat begins to fall from the bone. I remove the meat from the stock and set it aside to cool. The meat should be boned and shredded as soon as it’s cool enough to handle. The shredding allows the bone shards and shot to be removed. (See my entry on game birds.) The stock can either be strained at this point and stored in the fridge, frozen for future use, or made into a yummy soup.
YUMMY PHEASANT SOUP
a batch of freshly prepared pheasant stock (This will impress friends and family)
a couple of carrots, chopped (if not using the ones from the stock prep)
a couple stalks of celery, chopped (if not using the ones from stock prep)
a couple handfuls of carefully boned, shredded pheasant (Check for shot b-b’s)
a bay leaf
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Bring stock to a boil. Throw in carrots, celery, and bay leaf. Boil until veggies are cooked, around 15 minutes. Add bay leaf, meat, noodles, salt and pepper. Continue to boil for the amount of time listed on noodle bag. Remove bay leaf. Serve with crusty bread or grilled cheese sandwiches! Yum!