Emeril's Favorite Roast Pheasant

Total Time:
3 hr 22 min
35 min
2 min
2 hr 45 min

6 servings

  • 3 (2 1/2 to 3 pound) farm-raised pheasants*, innards removed, wing tips and necks trimmed
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1 orange, halved
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 6 slices thick-cut bacon, cut in half
  • 1/4 cup Madeira
  • 1 cup rich chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter
  • Wild Mushroom Bread Pudding, recipe follows
  • Emeril's Savory Wild Mushroom Bread Pudding:
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup sliced yellow onions
  • 10 ounces assorted wild mushrooms, such as oyster, shitake, chanterelles, wood ear, or porcini
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 3 teaspoons Essence, recipe follows
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup lager beer
  • 5 large eggs
  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoons minced fresh thyme
  • 3/4 cup grated Gouda cheese
  • 3/4 cup grated white cheddar cheese
  • 3/4 pound stale white bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 teaspoon unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon plain bread crumbs
  • Essence (Emeril's Creole Seasoning):
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried leaf oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F and position the oven rack in the bottom third of the oven.

  • Season the cavities and the outside of each pheasant liberally with salt and pepper. Divide the chopped onion and carrot equally among the cavities of the pheasants. Squeeze the juice from both halves of the orange and set aside. Cut 1 of the squeezed halves into 3 pieces, and tuck inside of the cavities along with the veggies. Insert 1sprig of thyme into the cavity of each pheasant.

  • Arrange the pheasants in a large roasting pan, breast sides up. Lay 2 strips of bacon over the top of each pheasant, cutting the bacon into pieces if necessary to cover as much of the pheasant as possible. Roast for 15 minutes, then remove the bacon strips and continue roasting for approximately 30 to 40 minutes, or until the juices run clear. (It is important to not overcook the pheasants, as they are very lean birds.) Remove the pheasants from the oven and transfer to a serving platter, loosely tented, while you make the sauce.

  • Using a spoon, carefully remove as much extra fat from the pan as possible. Place the roasting pan over high heat and, when hot, deglaze with the reserved orange juice and Madeira, using a wooden spoon to scrape any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. When the orange juice and Madeira have reduced by half, add the chicken stock and continue to cook until sauce has reduced enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 3 to 4 minutes. Swirl in the butter and remove from the heat. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper.

  • Remove the back bone from each pheasant, then cut along the breast bone to divide the birds into two halves. Serve 1/2 pheasant per person, napped with some of the sauce and with some of the Wild Mushroom Bread Pudding.

  • *Note: Wild pheasants are usually smaller birds, and thus will cook in less time. If you are using wild pheasants, please adjust the recipe accordingly.

Emeril's Savory Wild Mushroom Bread Pudding:
  • Heat the oil in a large, deep skillet over high heat. Add the onions and cook until golden brown and tender, 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms, 1/2 teaspoon of the garlic, 1 1/2 teaspoons of the Essence, 1 teaspoon of the salt, and 3/4 teaspoon of the pepper, and cook, stirring, until the mushrooms are tender and have given off their liquid, about 5 minutes. Add the beer and cook, stirring, to deglaze the pan and until the mixture is almost dry, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool.

  • In a large bowl, combine the eggs, cream, molasses, Worcestershire sauce, thyme, remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons of Essence, remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon of pepper, and whisk well to combine. Add the mushroom mixture and cheeses and stir well. Add the bread cubes and let sit until the bread has absorbed the liquid, 2 hours, stirring occasionally.

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

  • Butter a 9 by 13-inch baking dish with the butter. Add the bread crumbs, shaking to cover the bottom evenly. Pour the bread pudding mixture into the prepared pan and cover with aluminum foil. Bake for 1 hour and uncover. Continue baking until risen and firm in the center, and golden brown, 20 to 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool slightly before serving.

  • Yield: 6 servings

Essence (Emeril's Creole Seasoning):
  • Combine all ingredients thoroughly and store in an airtight jar or container.

  • Yield: about 2/3 cup

  • Recipe from "New New Orleans Cooking", by Emeril Lagasse and Jessie Tirsch. Published by William and Morrow, 1993.

View All

Cooking Tips
More Recipes and Ideas
4.6 18
First time making pheasant for Thanksgiving and they were delicious - we did brine our birds first though. Our favorite part was the breast meat - we found the thigh and leg too sinewy, but still quite good. Didn't care for the mushroom bread pudding at all and we followed the recipe to a tee.  I'll stick to corn bread dressing next time which is a family favorite. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I made this as written as my first time roasting a pheasant and it came out wonderfully! I used a wild pheasant and only needed to cook for about 45 total at 500 degrees. I changed nothing about the recipe except as one other user noted I used marsala wine instead of madeira as thats just what I had on hand. Great recipe and a lot easier than I thought it would be! item not reviewed by moderator and published
Over the years, we have tried a lot of ways to prepare pheasant. This is the most flavorful, tender pheasant we have ever eaten. This is our new way to cook pheasant! item not reviewed by moderator and published
This was AMAZING! This is by far the best pheasant recipe I've ever made. I was a little afraid... but I accomplished it! item not reviewed by moderator and published
This was the best Pheasant recipe I have ever had. Used wild Pheasant and it was terrific. The Wild Mushroom Bread Pudding was off the chart good. Used 1 Pheasant and then cut the rest of recipe in half. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I knew I would be pleased to find a food network recipe for pheasant. I like the sound of this recipe, I cook my pheasant almost the same way. I increase the cooking time and I lower the oven temp. I stuff each bird with a mushroom bread stuffing and place bacon across the breast while roasting. I baste with white wine and chicken stock frequently.I have also made creamed pheasant in a crock pot to spoon over bisquits. My husband is a hunter so I have access to plenty of wild game.I also have alot of experience cokking it in many differant ways. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Made this pheasant for an intimate Christmas dinner for 4 and was great! Breast meat was cooked well and was not dry or gamey. Instead of the stuffing I prepared a simple wild rice. This is the third time I have cooked pheasant and is by far the most successful dinner yet. item not reviewed by moderator and published
My neices & I made this dish for my nephew who hunts pheasant. We had never had pheasant and were very reluctant to try it. My nephew said it was the best he has ever had and will be sharing it with his family. They hunt annually. The sauce and the bread pudding make this dish!! item not reviewed by moderator and published
I did not cook this recipe but was a guest at a friend's home who made this. It was excellent! The pheasant was pink in some spots but it did not detract from the flavor or enjoyment of the meal. I would, however, take Debra's advice (see below). I'm sure her clay pot method and cooking time yields better results. The bread pudding was amazing and definitely a crowd pleaser! item not reviewed by moderator and published
I followed this recipe to a T and was not happy with the roasting results. I had 2 very fresh pheasant and 1 store bought, I followed the recipe and cooked a bit longer-the pheasant did not cook all the way through and raw in some parts. Disappointing to say the least. The next day I decided to cook 1 pheasant similiar to how I would cook a roast and it was much better. I cooked it in a clay pot covered for about 1 1/2 hours and it looked great. Did love the wild mushroom pudding that went with this recipe, it was a crowd pleaser. Unfortunately, I was very upset that the pheasant did not cook properly-they were supposed to be the star of the dinner item not reviewed by moderator and published
Absolutely fantastic. We used 3 wild pheasants and followed the recipe. Only thing we changed out with the pheasant recipe was switching from regular bacon to turkey bacon (we don't eat pork). The recipe was still fantastic. It was my first time to make pheasant. But my dad, who is an avid hunter, also thought this recipe was fantastic. We all thought that Emeril's Bread Pudding recipe was one of the best stuffing-type recipes in history. There's only 1 other one we've tried that tops it. Each ingredient brought awesome flavor to the dish. The only deviation we did was in the prep time. Where you have to soak the bread cube dish for 2 hours before baking, we did not do this. I was short on time and didn't soak at all. It had no affect on the recipe. The liquid was absorbed in the baking, plus there was no change in the baking time. Just a wonderful dish. HIGHLY RECOMMEND IT!!! item not reviewed by moderator and published
This is fantastic! My husband shot the pheasant and had already skinned and cut up the bird. I put chopped carrots and onions in a roasting pan, put the phesant pieces on top, sprinkled the meat with salt, pepper, essence and dried thyme before laying the bacon on top. 375 for 1 1/2 hours. The veggies were so fantastically caramalized we fought over them. And I don't even like cooked carrots! For the sauce, I used a good zinfindale (sp?) and instead of butter, added a little corn starch to make it thicker. Served with mashed potatoes and steamed broccoli. We both cleaned our plates! Thanks Food Network! I'm glad we have another pheasant in the freezer. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I cut the recipe in half for only one pheasant and it was still to much stuffing given how small pheasants are. But the stuffing is an unusual mix of sweet and savory and was absolutely delicious and rich. The pheasant turned out delicious - I cooked it upside down for the first half just to ensure that the breast ended up moist. The sauce was wonderful and gave a great flavor - its definitely a must with the pheasant. item not reviewed by moderator and published
The pheasant was so juicy, and the flavors were to die for! item not reviewed by moderator and published
I used this recipe only for the bread pudding. It's a good savory pudding, but too many ingredients. There are others that are as good or better. Did not use this pheasant recipe, so I'm not rating that part of it. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I made this for a family dinner last night, and it was a huge hit! Instead of the three pheasants, I used six cornish hens and followed the rest of the recipe exactly. It was simple and yet fancy...a definite make-again dinner. item not reviewed by moderator and published
what I did. . . added marsela wine instead. (had some on hand) no carrots or onions, stuffed cavities with quartered apples and oranges for fresh herbs bought poultry mix = rosemary, sage, thyme) Excellent --- item not reviewed by moderator and published
Excellent recipe, the sauce is amazing! Everyone I made this recipe for loved it, even the kids! item not reviewed by moderator and published

Not what you're looking for? Try:

Emeril's Favorite Brown Sugar-Crusted Baked Bologna