Maybe you didn’t have the best luck last weekend and birds were tough to come by. Don’t throw that one pheasant you harvested in the freezer. Let’s add some pasta and cheese and turn it into a hearty meal for your crew, right now.
Garlicky Phez Mac 'n Cheese
Great way to stretch one bird into a a meal for six people.
- 1 Pheasant
- 1 tbsp Salt
- 2 tbsp Garlic Powder
- 2 cups Rice Vinegar
- 2 cups Olive Oil
- 16 oz Pasta Elbows
- 4 tbsp Unsalted Butter
- 1/3 cup Flour
- 3 cups Whole Milk
- 1 cup Shredded Gouda
- 1 cup Shredded Smoked Gouda
- 1 cup Shredded Havarti
- 1/2 cup Shredded Gruyere
- 1 cup Crushed Potato Chips
- Green Onions
Remove the breasts and thighs from the bird. Slice into strips across grain. (Legs of wild pheasant tend to be tough, we reserve the drums and hull to slow cook for stocks and stews).
Combine Salt, Garlic Powder, Rice Vinegar and Olive Oil as a simple marinade. Submerge the pheasant in a covered container and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, overnight if possible.
Remove the pheasant strips from the marinade and pat dry. Heat a cast iron skillet and once it reaches high temperature add the pheasant. The goal is to get crispy seared garlic bites, so don't fuss with the meat. Let it cook on one side for a few minutes then flip and repeat for the opposite side. Remove meat from the heat and set aside.
Boil pasta according to the directions. 7-8 minutes should cover it for elbows, be sure to salt the water.
In a saucepan, melt butter and add the flour, creating a roux. Continue to stir on medium heat until flour is fully incorporated.
Slowly add the milk and continue to stir. As it comes back up to temperature it will thicken, you're looking for it to cover the back of a spoon.
Remove from heat and add the Goudas and Havarti, stir until melted. (Feel free to choose the cheeses you prefer. I like playing with combinations. You need a total of 3-1/2 cups).
Strain your pasta then combine with your cheese sauce. For those who prefer creamy mac 'n cheese, you could simply add the pheasant and go straight to the plate right here.
Preheat your oven to 375º. Transfer the mac to a 13 x 9 casserole and fold in the pheasant.
Top with the crushed potato chips and 1/2 cup of Gruyere (or cheese of your choice).
Bake for an hour. But if you're like the crispy cheese bits, go for an additional 10 minutes.
The marinated pheasant, salted pasta and chips provide all the seasoning you need. Hit it with a dash of hot sauce and some green onions for garnish.