Bits and pieces of leftover smoked pheasant with onions, garlic, mushrooms, asparagus, Arborio rice, pheasant stock, French vermouth, fresh herbs and lots of cracked pepper..
Smoked Pheasant Risotto with Field Mushrooms and Baby Asparagus
1/2 cup white onion, diced
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon pastured butter
1 cup French dry vermouth
1 bunch fresh herbs
5 cups pheasant stock, divided
2/3 cup mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup fresh asparagus, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 pound smoked pheasant, torn into small pieces
1 cup Arborio or Bomba rice
pieces of pheasant skin
Toast the onions in a dry skillet over medium heat until nicely browned. Add the butter, olive oil and garlic, stir to combine and cook 1 minute. Add the vermouth and scrape loose any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Allow the mixture to cook down until the liquid has been reduced to about 1/3 cup.
Add the rice, stir to combine and cook 2 minutes. Add 3 cups stock and reduce heat to a gentle boil and cook 20 minutes, stirring frequently.
Meanwhile, toast the pieces of skin in a heavy skillet until the fat has rendered and the skin has begun to darken and crisp. Transfer the skin to a cutting board and allow to cool enough to handle. Chop the skin into small pieces, add to the rendered fat (add a little butter if there isn’t enough) along with the mushrooms and saute until golden. Set aside.
Once the rice has absorbed most of the liquid, add another 1-1/2 cups of stock and simmer, stirring constantly, until half the liquid is absorbed. Add the pheasant, mushroom mixture and asparagus and cook (again stirring constantly) until the asparagus is tender and the pheasant is warmed through. Use the last 1/2 cup of stock if needed to prevent the pan from getting dry. Season liberally with freshly-cracked pink pepper and taste for salt (although it usually doesn’t need any).
Turn the finished risotto out onto pre-warmed plates and finish with a little aged parmesan if desired. Properly made risotto has a creamy texture and is wet enough to slide around the plate a little.
In Texas, most pheasant hunting takes place in the 3 dozen or so northernmost counties (the Panhandle), where the next season runs December 3rd through January 1st. Playa lake bottoms are a consistently productive location for both ducks and Ring-necked pheasant.