This recipe is adapted from Travel Channel host, Andrew Zimmern. It is one of my favorite game day snacks and only takes one pot! Not to mention it throws a curveball when it comes to your traditional buffalo wings.
Zimmern’s recipe originally calls for chicken wings but with the pheasant hailing from China, it only seems right to pay homage to its origins. Also, rather than utilizing just the wings, I chose to use the whole bird because you can’t have too much of a good thing.
The combination of heat and sweet sing a perfect harmony on the tongue, while the familiar flavors of soy and ginger take us on a trip to the orient. Topped with sesame seeds and fresh cut scallions, this dish melds flawlessly together. It is time to move over General Tso, you do not have a chance to win this battle! Break out the chopsticks and pour some sake, it is time to take this Chinese rooster from the forest to fork.
Note: Most of the sauces, spices, and the chile can be found in the ethnic isle of most grocery stores.
Serves: 6 to 8 people
- 2 whole pheasants, skin-on and broken down into five pieces
- 1/2 cup of sake (if you are like me, you will need more for drinking)
- 1/2 cup of water
- 1/2 cup of low sodium soy sauce (I like to control the saltiness by adjusting with kosher salt)
- Kosher salt to season
- 5-6 tablespoons of brown sugar (adjust based on the desired sweetness)
- 3-4 tablespoons of mirin
- 3-4 tablespoons of oyster sauce
- 5 large and thin slices of fresh ginger
- 3 cloves of star anise
- 1 dried hot chile (I used a bird’s eye chile)
- 1 cinnamon stick
- Sliced scallions to garnish (green onions)
- Sesame seeds to garnish
Place a 14-inch nonstick sauté pan over medium-high heat. Once heated, work in batches as not to overcrowd the pan. Add the pheasants and dry-sear to lightly brown the birds. This takes roughly 4 minutes per side. Once browned, place all the pheasant in the pan and reduce the heat to medium. Add all the remaining ingredients—sake, soy sauce, water, brown sugar, mirin, oyster sauce, sliced ginger, star anise, dried chile, and cinnamon stick—and bring to a simmer. Cover the pan with foil or a lid and cook for roughly 30 minutes. Remove the lid. If the pan looks dry, add a little more water.
Leave the pan uncovered and let simmer, tossing frequently to coat. Do this for an additional 15-20 minutes or until the pan is almost dry and the meat is sticky and pulls from the bone. Finish with the fresh scallions and a sprinkle of sesame. I recommend plenty of napkins, as this dish is not for the knife and fork. Bring out your inner child and dig in!
An Ohio native and contestant on Fox' MasterChef, Tyler Viars prides himself as a “rooter to the tooter,” waste-nothing cook. Follow and interact with Viars and his Cookin’ in Camo brand on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.