Sunday, September 25, 2011

First Pheasant Hunt of the Season

This weekend was the opening of pheasant hunting season out at Hastings Island Hunting Preserve. 

We had some rain showers that came through but it was a warm rain and still made for a enjoyable hunt. 

 Not the best of Bailey's performances, but then this was the first time out. We took 2 large rooster pheasant in the 2 hours we were. 

 I have a 20-bird card with the hunt club so we will take our time a couple birds at a time. 

Hunting with Bailey is a pleasure.  This was our first "solo" hunt, now that I am a member of the club. 
Just the two of us in huge fields out in the middle of a farming island.  Other hunters and dogs were there, but off in the distance, a half mile away or more.

Loved it.  A man and his dog hunting.  There is something primal about the whole experience. 

 We have a recipe for Blueberry Roasted Pheasant that we will try this weekend with the two birds.  Served with rice and carrots.

"So, the best thing about this method is you can use the bird whole---no cutting your fingers piecing it out.
Take 1-3 whole birds wash well, dry with paper towels, then rub inside and out with olive oil
Season inside and out with salt, pepper, and a bit of garlic and Italian seasoning
Put bird(s) breast up in oven safe pot (dutch oven) with the cover off at 400-425 d F for 30-40 mins until browned
While birds are browning,in appropriately sized mixing bowl combine a can of either condensed golden or cream of mushroom soup with a can of Marsala wine anda can of buttermilk per bird cooking and mix until smooth (since my dutch oven is a snug fit with two roosters
I use only one soup cans worth of sauce and blueberries Jim)

Add a basket of blueberries per bird and stir them in
When birds are browned remove from oven and pour the soup,Marsala,buttermilk, blueberry mixture over it (them)
Reduce oven temp to 325 d F
Cover the birds
Return to oven for about 60-90mins until tender---Good to baste with mixture when checking on doneness
Remove the bird(s) from pot and carve breasts and separate the thigh-leg to arrange on plate with the rice and veggies and spoon blueberry gravy over meat-rice
Serve with Rice, Pilaf, or mashed potatoes and bright side dish ( carrots,peas, etc.) Looks great tastes greater!
Good with either red or white wines---I like a Petite Syrah
Bon appitite---Don
PS A great condiment is "Horseberry sauce"--easy--a can of whole or regular cranberry sauce mixed with 1/3 bottle of cream style horseraddish sauce mixed until smooth

From field to dinner plate. 

Nature is cruel, but we don't have to be. -Temple Grandin

Hastings Island Hunting Preserve will release tens of thousands of pheasant during the six-month season.  Many will become wild birds as they fly off the island and into the surrounding country.
Hastings Island is about 8 miles from the small town of Rio Vista in the heart of the California Delta.

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