RECIPE: Pheasant Stock
If you’re like me, the best parts of every hunt quickly turn into work. In the case of upland bird hunting, that means brushing and washing dogs, repacking gear, and cleaning your birds. The vast majority of recipes I make with the pheasants I bring home involve the breast and tenderloins. Due to the connective tissue in the wings, thighs, and legs, I tend to just breast any bird I shoot. But, this leaves me with a problem: What do I do with all this “waste”?
I keep the “leftover” parts of every bird I shoot (or a hunting buddy shoots) and turn them into pheasant stock!
Soak in salt water
This helps to remove blood clots and should be done for 2 hours or overnight.
Wrap the birds
Use plastic wrap and Ziploc bags before freezing them. This allows me to make stock on those cold winter days after hunting season is over.
Roast or smoke the birds
Though you don’t have to, this helps to develop a great flavor later on in the process.
Break some bones
The more places the water can reach, the more flavor that is extracted.
Use a steeping bag
Put the vegetables for your mirepoix in a steeping bag. This makes it easier to strain the stock later. Learn from my mistakes!
Think about storage
Plan out when you want to use the stock. Fresh stock lasts about a week. Frozen stock can be used up to a year later. Canned stock can be stored up to 2 years, but it MUST be pressure-canned. AND think about this before you start the process as this will determine just how long you will be working. Depending on storage, I’ve spent 2 full days in the kitchen!
6 pheasant carcasses, with hearts, gizzards, and drumsticks
3 tablespoons sunflower or other vegetable oil
Mirepoix (1 onion, 4 stalks celery, 3 carrots; chopped)
4 garlic cloves, smashed
1 bunch parsley, chopped
4 bay leaves
2 tablespoon peppercorns, rough cracked
Dried Mushrooms (for body)
1 star of anise (optional, though highly recommended)
Coat the pheasant carcasses in oil and salt. Roast in a 400° oven for 4 hours.
Add 1 cup water to roasting pan to deglaze, then lightly crush the carcasses to break a few bones. Add all this to a 5 gallon stockpot.
Fill the stockpot with enough water to cover the carcasses with 1-2 inches of water.
Bring to a simmer and allow to cook for as long as possible (minimum 4 hours, up to 16 hours).
Skim off the foam that forms every 15-30 minutes to ensure a clear broth,
Stir in all the remaining ingredients and continue to simmer for 90 minutes.
Strain the liquid using a paper towel, fine strainer, and a large bowl. Replace the paper towel as needed.
Store for future use in plastic containers (freezing) or cans (pressure-canning).
Taste the finished stock for salt and add it to taste. If you decide to reduce the stock further -- you can do so another few hours and it will set up like jello when cold -- do not add salt until you've taken the stock as far as you want it.
Use within a week in the fridge, a year in the freezer, or 2 years when pressure canned.