Pheasant Pot Pie

“I say: Long life to The L.L. Bean Game & Fish Cookbook, and I’m sure it will have one.” American Chef, James Beard

As the holidays approach we’re thinking of our favorite game recipes and we’re reminded of how much we love Angus Cameron’s and Judith Jones’, L.L. Bean Game & Fish Cookbook. At the time of its publication in 1983, Chef James Beard memorably paid tribute:

“This book is a honey! There is no need for anyone to write another game book for at least half a century. With Angus Cameron, long my favorite authority on ducks, geese, squirrels, beavers, etc., to share all of his delightful experiences, and Judith Jones, my favorite editor, to guide and embellish it, the book is a great event – a collection of mouth-watering recipes and suggestions, and a parade of fish and animals that is astonishing!”

Match any fresh game or wild-caught fish with the recipe of your choice from this time-tested classic and the meal that results will surely be to the delight of all of your friends and family. In our neighborhood it’s been a particularly good year for upland bird hunting so we’re recommending Pheasant Pot Pie (page 150), of which Cameron and Jones said:

“There are many ways to make a bird pie, but I like to give this ancient dish just a touch of the blend of flavors that characterized such pies in the Middle Ages when they were standard fare. Our Continental forebears used saffron for color as well as taste, but it’s not necessary if you find it too costly today (you can even color the pie with a few drops of vegetable coloring).

Recipe Serves 4

1 pheasant (or 2 grouse or 3 chukars)2 carrots, sliced
1/2 water and 1/2 white wine to cover1 rib celery, sliced
1 small onion, stuck with 3 cloves4 Tb. butter
1 rib celery with leaves, sliced3 Tb. flour
8 peppercorns3 cups broth
1 tsp. salt1 pinch saffron (highly recommended, or see suggestion above)
1/2 tsp. thyme or tarragon (or 1/4 tsp. of each)1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1 bay leaf1/4 tsp. nutmeg
3 medium potatoes; cubed1/2 Tb. Worcestershire or Harvey’s sauce
1 medium onion, diced, or 4 shallots, mincedPie crust or biscuit dough, cream (optional)

More from Cameron and Jones:

“Simmer the bird in a kettle in wine-water to cover, along with clove-studded onion, celery with leaves, peppercorns, salt, thyme or tarragon, and bay leaf until pheasant leg is tender, perhaps 1 – 1 1/2 hours. Remove the bird to cool. Cook the potatoes in the same stock until they are tender (you can put the potatoes in for the last 20 minutes of step 1 or you can cook them separately).

Retain 3 cups of stock.

Bone and dice the bird.

Prepare dough for the crust.

Saute onions or shallots, carrots, and celery in the butter until carrot is soft. Stir in the flour, cook a minute or so, and then off heat stir in the broth, saffron, cinnamon, nutmeg, and sauce. Return to the heat and simmer this gravy for 3-4 minutes, correcting for thickness with cream.

Put diced pheasant, potatoes, and other vegetables in the sauce in a casserole, cover with crust and bake it at 500 degrees for about 15 minutes or until crust is brown.”

We hope you will enjoy this dish and the entire Romeo Bravo Software team sends our best wishes for a happy and safe Thanksgiving!