White Pheasant Stew with Chanterelles and Black Trumpets
A blanquette, or white stew made with pheasant legs, chanterelle, and black trumpet mushrooms
Course: Main Course
Keyword: Black Trumpet Mushrooms, Blanquette, Pheasant, Pickled chanterelles
High-sided braising pan
1whole pheasant or very small chickenwith legs (plucked or not, you won't be needing skin on the breasts)
1cuppearl onions or other small onionslike cipollini
5-6ouncesfresh chanterelle mushroom buttonswashed trimmed and cleaned
1/2cupdry white wine
½cupheavy creamyou could get by with ¼ cup if you really want
1tablespoonall purpose flour
1cupcooked ricemashed potatoes or baby potatoes
Kosher salt and white pepperoptional to taste
Sliced green onionsto garnish (optional)
1ouncefresh black trumpet mushroomsto garnish (optional)
A few scrapes of fresh nutmegoptional
Bouquet Garnietie these in cheesecloth
A few sprigs of thyme1 crushed clove of garlic, 1 dried bay leaf, 10 black peppercorns
French the pheasant legs by slicing around the bone 3 inches up from the bottom of the leg to expose the sharp bones on the bottom of the leg. Remove the bones with a pliers or with sturdy fingers. This makes for a nice presentation, but you can also remove the bones after cooking and cooling if you want, just be careful since they can fall apart.
Marinate the pheasant overnight in the white wine and ¼ teaspoon of salt in a Ziploc or other container. If you’re in a pinch you don’t have to marinate it, but It adds good depth.
Cut off the ends of the pearl onions, blanch in lightly salted water for 3-4 minutes, then shock in an ice bath, peel and reserve. The onions can be done a day ahead of time, when you marinate the pheasant.
Knead together 2 tablespoons of the butter with the flour and reserve. This is called beurre manie, or kneaded roux, and it makes the gravy of the gods.
3 hours before serving, preheat the oven to 300F, then put the pheasant legs, bouquet garni, and 3 cups of stock in an 8 inch pan with high sides, like a cast iron skillet. Cover with a tight fitting lid, or with parchment and another pan, and bake until the meat is just fork tender, about 1.5 hours. Carefully transfer the pheasant legs and all the juice into a container and reserve. You should have about 1-1.5 cups of cooking liquid left.
Heat the two tablespoons of butter in the pan (you don’t need to wipe it dry) and add the onions and chanterelles. Cook on medium heat for 10 minutes or until the chanterelles are wilted. Add the reserved pheasant cooking liquid, bring the mixture to a simmer, then whisk in the kneaded roux and the cream.
Add the pheasant legs, breasts, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the pheasant breasts are just done. Double check the seasoning, finish with a little white pepper and a scrape or two of nutmeg, then plate.
Warm up the rice, then pack 1/4 -1/2 cup (depending on how much starch you want) into ramekins, pressing down so that it will pop out looking like a cake. Invert the molded rice onto each of two preheated dinner plates with wide rims at 12 o’clock. Arrange a pheasant leg and/or breast on each plate, spoon the sauce and mushrooms around, sprinkle on a few scallions or chives. Finally garnish with a few sautéed black trumpets (optional-make sure to blot them on a paper towel before plating so they don't bleed black into the white sauce) and serve immediately.
I used an heirloom rice grown in milwaukee to garnish the finished dish, but jasmine rice or mashed potatoes are fine too. You can make this as complicated or simple as you want: fresh out of pheasant? Use chicken. Don’t want to marinate the bird overnight? Skip it. Don’t have ingredients for a bouquet garni? Skip it and just use decent stock. Don't have both chanterelles and black trumpets? Skip one.
There's a good amount of prep here, but as it's a braise you can cook the whole thing ahead of time without the breasts, then just poach them in the liquid before serving for super easy execution.
Serves 2-4 as an entrée depending on the size of your bird, and if you use pheasant or not. Chicken would yield 4 entree portions as pheasant legs are smaller and have a proportionately lower yield of meat.