A quick, delicious and elegant weeknight dinner
By Darby Doyle
DWR Conservation Outreach Section
Pheasant piccata is a quick-to-assemble dish that has bright, zingy flavors to balance the buttery sauce. It can be made with a minimum of fuss using pheasant (of course), but you can also swap in any upland game bird of your choice — grouse, chukar and quail also work well. Delicious served over pasta, roasted potatoes or wild rice.
- 2 skinless pheasant breasts
- ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 generous pinch each, kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 tablespoons butter (divided use)
- ½ cup dry white wine (such as Sauvignon Blanc) or chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- ¼ cup capers, drained
- Fresh basil leaves or parsley, minced
Preheat your oven to 250 degrees.
Rinse the cleaned pheasant breasts with cold water and pat dry thoroughly with paper towels. If the pheasant breasts are large, slice the thickest part of the pheasant breast horizontally, butterflying it open. The goal is to make the entire breast portion about ⅓ inch thick.
In a shallow bowl, combine flour, salt, pepper and parmesan cheese. Dredge each pheasant breast in the flour mixture, making sure all sides are evenly coated.
To a heavy skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil and 2 tablespoons of the butter. Heat until the butter mixture is foamy and starting to bubble. Add the dredged pheasant breasts, making sure to leave space between them (do not crowd the pan). Brown well on each side, about 3–4 minutes per side. Make a narrow cut with a sharp knife to check doneness; there should be no pink, and the juices should run clear.
Remove the pheasant from the skillet and place it on a rack over a rimmed baking sheet or roasting pan. Place the pheasant in the oven to keep warm while you prepare the sauce.
Using the same skillet (with the reserved browned butter and oil), add the wine (or broth), lemon juice and capers. Stir over medium-high heat with a wooden spoon, scraping up the browned bits from the skillet to incorporate into the sauce. Reduce heat to a simmer and continue stirring until the sauce is reduced by almost half. Whisk in the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and stir until it is just incorporated and the sauce is glossy.
Remove the pheasant from the oven and plate it with the sauce poured over top, dividing portions equally. Garnish with fresh herbs.