I realize pheasant breasts are the “Holy Grail” of wild game succulence, but don’t overlook a rooster’s thighs and legs. And for goodness sake, don’t just breast the bird and garbage the remainder. Pheasant legs are certainly tougher to cook, but a rooster’s legs and thighs actually produce quite a lot of tasty dark meat when handled with care.
Perhaps the easiest way to put those pheasant legs to good use is in soup. As I’ve written before, I enjoy spending my summer in the garden. Consequently, I find great pleasure in marrying early season roosters with late harvested garden veggies.
While I’m not skilled in making my own stock, this soup recipe is tasty and simple.
2 sets of pheasant legs
½ cup of wild rice
3 cups of sliced carrots (I am a fan of planting multi-colored carrots in my garden)
2 cups of diced potatoes
2 sliced jalepenos
½ cup of Petey’s original seasoning (substitute your favorite soup seasoning or boullion cubes)
1 cup of broccoli
1 cup of Brussels sprouts
1) Start by slow boiling the pheasant legs in water for roughly 15 minutes / or slow cooking in a crock pot for an hour.
2) Remove the legs from the broth and let cool.
3) Reduce the remaining broth to simmer.
4) Cook wild rice for 45 minutes in broth on medium simmer.
5) Add Petey’s spice to broth.
6) Add carrots and potatoes to the broth after wild rice has cooked for 30 minutes.
7) After the pheasant legs have cooled, pick the meat off the bones being careful to remove any BBs, feathers and tendons from the lower leg meat.
8) Add the pulled leg meat to the soup.
9) Simmer the soup on low, stirring occasionally for about 30 minutes as the flavors mix together.
10) Dish the soup into bowls on top of fresh broccoli and Brussels sprouts. This will ensure these green veggies stay crunchy and retain their color.
11) Serve with your favorite soup cracker.
This preparation is definitely not fancy, but it’s certainly not difficult. And I promise, you’ll be surprised at how much you’ll begin looking forward to saving the legs from future roosters.
The Pointer is written by Bob St.Pierre, Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever’s Vice President of Marketing. Follow Bob on Twitter @BobStPierre and listen to Bob and Billy Hildebrand every Saturday morning on FAN Outdoors radio on KFAN FM100.3.