Roast Pheasant with Chestnut Fennel Fricassee

Fresh chestnuts are widely available in the fall.

  • Servings: 4
Roast Pheasant with Chestnut Fennel Fricassee

Source: Martha Stewart Living, October/November 1993


  • 2 cups fresh chestnuts
  • 3/4 cup wild rice
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 pheasant (about 3 pounds)
  • 1/4 cup fresh rosemary, finely chopped, plus whole sprigs for garnish
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 6 shallots, 2 minced and 4 slivered lengthwise
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 2 fennel bulbs (about 8 ounces each), sliced thinly crosswise
  • 1 cup Homemade Chicken Stock, or canned low-sodium chicken broth, skimmed of fat


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. With a sharp knife, make two crosscut gashes on flat side of chestnuts. Place on a baking sheet, and roast for 15 to 20 minutes. When cool enough to handle, peel off skins and set aside.

  2. Rinse rice well. In a medium saucepan, combine with 3 cups water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover loosely, and allow to simmer for 25 minutes. Remove from heat, add 1/2 teaspoon salt, and let sit for 10 minutes. Drain, and set aside.

  3. Rinse pheasant, and pat dry. Combine rosemary, garlic, minced shallots, and salt and pepper to taste. Rub cavity with mixture. Season outside with salt and pepper. Tie pheasant's legs together with kitchen twine. Tuck wings under breast.

  4. Reduce heat to 350 degrees. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a roasting pan over medium heat. Brown bird evenly on all sides, about 15 minutes. Place breast side up; transfer to oven. Cook for about 40 more minutes, basting often, until legs are a little loose when you shake them.

  5. Meanwhile, melt 1/2 teaspoon each of butter and oil in a skillet. Add slivered shallots, and cook over medium heat for 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer shallots to a bowl.

  6. Melt another 1/2 teaspoon each of butter and oil in skillet. Add fennel slices, and cook for 5 minutes. Transfer to bowl.

  7. Melt remaining tablespoon butter in skillet. Add chestnuts; cook for 2 minutes. Add 1/2 cup stock and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil and simmer until reduced to a glaze, about 10 minutes. Add remaining stock; simmer until again reduced to a glaze, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

  8. Add rice, shallots, fennel, and 1 cup water to skillet and cook for 5 minutes. Add chestnuts. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with pheasant.


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