Pheasant Cacciatore

Aptly named, pheasant cacciatore translating to hunter’s pheasant is a wonderful way to showcase bird legs too often left in the field.  When served over a modest layer of rice, the combination of tomatoes, bell peppers, and fresh basil provide a tangy and eye-popping dish.  Don’t skimp on the wine pairing!  This dish is I deal with the served with Sauvignon Blanc.

What you’ll need:

  • 6 pheasant legs or 3 pheasant breasts
  • 2 teaspoons salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 yellow pepper, chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 ( 28-ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice
  • 3/4 cup chicken stock
  • 3 tablespoons drained capers
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano leaves
  • Coarsely chopped fresh basil leaves

How to make it happen:

Sprinkle the pheasant with salt and pepper, then dredge the pieces in flour shaking of excess.

Using a large pan, heat the oil over medium-high hear, then the brown the pheasant in batches on each side.  Once browned transfer the pheasant to a plate.

Add the bell pepper, onion and garlic to the same pan, season with salt & pepper to taste, then sauté over medium heat until the vegetables are just soft.  Next stir in the wine and simmer until reduced by one-third.

Add the tomatoes & juice, broth, capers and oregano.  Add the reserved pheasant back to the pan, smother with the sauce, cover and bring to a gentle simmer over low heat for about an hour until the pheasant is tender.

Garnish with the basil and serve over pasta, rice or sautéed spinach.  Ideally a layer of rice, a layer of the tomato-pepper sauce, topped by a plump and tender piece of pheasant.  If using legs, use a clean pair of needle nose, pliers to gently remove the pin bones along the drumstick before plating.