The best way to cook pheasant that isn’t dry is to coat it, fry it, add a creamy sauce, and simmer until it is melt-in-your-mouth ready!
Upland bird hunting has been a part of my life since I was a little girl and my dad would go out with friends and family to pheasant and quail hunt opening weekend on our family ground.
However, my dad never brought any birds home. He always let the other guys take the birds he shot home. I’m not sure if it was because he was being a good host or because he didn’t really like the taste. I do know he wouldn’t eat anything that tasted dry, and unfortunately, pheasant can often end up that way if not cooked properly.
But then, I married Ty.
He too likes to go upland bird hunting. But, he also likes to eat pheasant! I can attribute this to one thing…
His Granny’s Creamed Pheasant recipe!
I can still see her standing over the sink in our house, with the water running, checking over each piece of meat to make sure there were no feathers and no shot left for some unsuspecting person to chomp down on.
Ty does most of the cleaning of the birds for me these days, but when he brought home 60 pheasants from a European hunt he helped guide with the help of our dog, Kip, the kids and I pitched in!
The little boys worked outside with dad and the older kids and I worked inside, using two sinks to clean and debone all the birds.
I thought of Granny a lot while we processed those birds. She passed away in November 2020 and she has been greatly missed. Her influence reached far beyond the kitchen, but it is the memories of her in the kitchen that live on in our family through recipes like Granny’s 100% Whole Wheat Bread and her Thanksgiving Dressing.
We froze quite a bit of the meat, but we left out enough to make our usual 2 skillets’ worth of Creamed Pheasant. The recipe below is for 1 skillet full and will feed approximately 6 – 8 people, depending on how much meat you can pack into each skillet.
I prefer a 12″ electric skillet, like the one we use for Granny’s Electric Skillet Roast simply because that’s what Granny used and how she taught me to make Creamed Pheasant. But, you do not have to use an electric skillet. Just make sure you control the heat on your stovetop well and your skillet has plenty of room for the amount of pheasant you are cooking.
It is also best if you use 2 skillets – one to fry the pheasant and one to transfer the pheasant into when you simmer it. It’s easier that way.
By the way, you can also use chicken in place of the pheasant if you don’t have fresh game! I’ve never actually done chicken this way, but I’m sure it would be absolutely delicious!
You’ll notice in the recipe I mention pounding the meat. We used to not do this, but it definitely makes for a nice, tender bite, so I highly recommend you either use a meat tenderizer or just the bottom of a glass. You don’t need to pound hard or for very long.
The real secret of this recipe is crushed corn flakes! Please, follow the directions that say only turn the pheasant once when you fry. This will keep the breading on and allow for a nice crispy outside you won’t get otherwise. Delectable!
- 2-3 pheasant breasts and pieces, deboned
- 2 cups flour
- 2 Tbsp lemon pepper
- 2 tsp salt
- 3 eggs
- 3 cups corn flakes, crushed
- 1 cup shortening or oil
- water (enough to fill 1" up the skillet side)
- 1 pkg onion soup mix
- ¾ cup cream
- Melt shortening in a skillet over medium-high heat. Meanwhile, lightly pound pheasant meat with a mallet and pat dry with a paper towel.
- Combine flour and lemon pepper in a bowl. Crack eggs into a separate bowl and whisk well. Crush corn flakes into yet another bowl.
- Dredge meat in seasoned flour, eggs, and corn flakes – in that order – and place coated meat in the skillet to fry. Only turn the pieces one time to allow each side to cook and still keep the breading intact.
- In another skillet (preferably a 12" skillet), add about 1" of water and the onion soup mix packet and stir to combine. Bring to a boil.
- Once fried, place each piece of meat into the onion soup mix skillet with the most crispy side up. (You will not be turning the meat over.). Bring the contents back to a gentle boil to cook down and thicken. Reduce heat to a simmer (225° in an electric skillet) and cover.
- Add cream to the skillet and lift meat slightly to let the liquid flow underneath. Continue to lift the meat occasionally. Cook until the liquid is thick and creamy.