Roast Pheasant with Chestnut Fennel Fricassee

A pheasant is trussed, roasted golden brown, and garnished with savory, and served with a fricassee of fennel, wild rice, and roasted chestnuts.

  • Servings: 4
Roast Pheasant with Chestnut Fennel Fricassee

Source: Martha Stewart Living, October/November 1993

Ingredients

  • 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 Brown Game Stock or chicken stock

Directions

  1. Heat 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.

  4. Heat oven to 350 degrees. To truss bird, place it breast side up with legs pointing toward you. Tuck wing tips underneath body. Cut off at least 36 inches of kitchen string. Pass center of string underneath wings and body below neck cavity. Holding string ends in either hand, pull toward you so that string runs between body and thighs. Cross strings underneath tailbone; pull up, catching legs and crossing them. Cross string over legs, pulling to secure. Loop strings around legs again, and tie in a knot on top.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

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

  8. 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.

Cook's Notes

Fresh chestnuts are widely available in the fall.

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