Recipes & Cooking  |  01/27/2015

Recipe: Winter Warmer - Braised Pheasant with a Pancetta

Weather wise, the new year has been brutally cold here in Ohio. With my freezer full of pheasant, this dish is always one to warm things up! To combat Old Man Winter's chill, I slowly braise the pheasant in a rich winter stout with earthy mushrooms and sweet onions. The deep, rich, and comforting flavors are sure to have your guests rushing for seconds! Put on an apron and poor another beer, it’s time to bring this dish from Forest to Fork.
  • 4 ounces of thickly sliced pancetta cut into 1/2-inch dices
  • 2 pheasants, broken down into breast, thighs, and wings, or cut into 5 pieces
  • 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 celery stalks diced into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 4 ounces of mushrooms (I used baby bellas but porcini work fantastic as well)
  • 2 carrots, cut into 1/2-inch rounds
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 jalapeño, stemmed and thinly sliced (I used a serrano for added heat)
  • One 12-ounce bottle of your favorite beer (In this case, I prefer a stout)
  • 3 cups of pheasant stock (low sodium chicken stock is perfect too)
  • 1/4 cup of all-purpose flour
  • 3 sprigs of thyme (stem removed)
  • 1 sprig of fresh rosemary (stem removed and chopped fine)
  • Fresh grated parmesan with reserved parmesan rind (Parmesan rinds add exceptional flavor to stews, soups, and braises)
  • Fresh chopped Italian flat leaf parsley for garnish
To start this recipe, take a drink and turn on the tunes. Being a Buckeye, my beer of choice is Columbus Brewing Company’s Winter Warmer. 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large, cast-iron Dutch oven, add the pancetta, turn the heat to medium, and cook approximately 5 minutes or until browned and the fat has rendered. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pancetta to a paper towel-lined plate. 
Season the pheasant liberally with kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper. Dust the pieces with flour. Cook in batches over medium-high heat, turning once until browned, about 8 minutes. Transfer the pheasant to the plate with the pancetta. Add the onion, celery, carrots, and jalapeño to the Dutch oven and cook over medium-low heat until slightly caramelized, about 10-15 minutes. Add the mushrooms, garlic, thyme, rosemary and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Return the pheasant and pancetta to the pan. Add the beer, parmesan rind, pheasant stock, and bring to a boil.
Place covered in the preheated oven and cook until nearly fork tender or approximately 2 hours. Uncover and adjust the heat to 400 degrees and cook for an additional 20 minutes. Transfer the pheasant to a platter and boil the sauce until slightly reduced, about 5 minutes. 
Top it off with freshly chopped flat leaf parsley, and pair it with homemade polenta, or mashed potatoes to guarantee no leftovers. As I always say, “Hunt, cook, eat, share, enjoy.”
An Ohio native and contestant on Fox' MasterChef, Tyler Viars prides himself as a “rooter to the tooter,” waste-nothing cook. Follow and interact with Viars and his Cookin’ in Camo brand on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.