Braised Pheasant with Mushrooms and Sherry

2 MacFarlane Pheasants (About 2.5 lb each)
3-4 sprigs fresh Thyme
1 sprig fresh Rosemary
4 slices bacon in ¼ inch slices
½ bulb thinly sliced fennel
1 onion chopped
1 oz porcini mushrooms in 8 oz hot water, reserve water
½- 1 shallot
white wine as needed for braising
8 oz fresh mushrooms sliced
1/3 cup sliced almonds dry roasted
3 stalks celery sliced
Flour for coating
4 tbs butter (can use olive oil)
Pint cream or ½- ½
1 cup dry sherry
1 tbs coarse salt
1 tsp ground black pepper

Remove backbone from pheasant and quarter, pat dry. Cook bacon in Dutch oven till slightly brown, remove bacon leave grease. Heat half of butter or butter and oil in Dutch oven. Shake pheasant in bag with flour. Brown (all sides) on medium-high heat, takes about 20 minutes. Remove pheasant, add remaining butter, sauté onion, celery, shallots, and fennel till ten-der. Add mushrooms (regular and porcini) and almonds continue cooking till tender Add porcini water, ½ cup white wine, salt, pepper, thyme, and rosemary. Heat to simmer; then add pheasant. Place in 325 degree oven for 2 hours tightly covered. Check liquid level, add white wine if necessary. 7. Remove pheasant, stir in cream or ½- ½ and sherry. Return pheasant to pan, cover and place in 350 degree oven until meat falls off bone(approx.1 hr). Remove pheasant and boil sauce down if necessary.

Serve With: Brown long grain rice

Entrant: Thomas Tecco

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