Note: This recipe is not exclusive to Pheasant and can be applied to any other game bird.
- •One 2- to 3-pound pheasant, skinned, cut into 10 pieces (bone in)
- •1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons peanut oil
- •2 teaspoons kosher salt
- •2 yellow onions, peeled and cut in half
- •1 shallot, peeled and cut in half
- •6 garlic cloves, peeled
- •One 3-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled
- •1/4 cup upland game bird stock* (or chicken)
- •3 tablespoons curry powder*
- •1 tablespoon honey
- •4 fresh bird’s eye-chiles, split
- •8-10 whole green cardamom pods
- •4 cups coconut milk
- •1/2 cup picked cilantro leaves
* YELLOW CURRY BLEND (makes 3/4 cup)
- •3 tablespoons cumin seed, lightly toasted
- •3 tablespoons coriander seed, lightly toasted
- •1/2 teaspoon yellow mustard seed, lightly toasted
- •1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- •1 tablespoon turmeric
- •1 teaspoon ground ginger
Grind the toasted spices and red pepper as finely as you can in a spice grinder, then add the remaining spices. Pulse until blend is uniform and store blend in airtight jar or spice container.
1. Give the inside and outside of your pheasant a quick salt scrub to remove any unappetizing bits. Thoroughly rinse the carcass under cold running water and transfer it to a cutting board.
2. Disassemble the bird so you have ten bone-in sections: remove the breasts (leaving the breast bone intact) and split into 4 equal sized pieces, separate the drumsticks from thighs, and detach the wings removing the wingtips as you do so (reserve backbone, feet, neck, and head for stock). Pat the pieces dry and lay them out on a large plate.
3. Place the onions, shallots, garlic, and ginger into a blender along with a tablespoon or two of oil. Pulse until broken down into a sort of veggie slush that’s ever so slightly chunkier than a puree.
4. Put the remaining oil in a dutch oven or heavy bottom pot and place pot over medium-high heat. Season pheasant with salt and brown the pieces on all sides, making sure not to overcrowd the pan. Transfer browned pieces back to the plate (leaving as much fat behind in the pot as possible), pour in the blended vegetable puree, and lower the heat slightly. Fry the mixture, stirring occasionally, for 6 to 10 minutes until golden in color.
5. Pour in the stock and run a wooden spoon across the bottom of the pan to disperse any brown bits of pheasant or vegetable into the vegetable paste. Add the curry powder, honey, chiles, cardamom, and coconut milk and stir until blended. Taste the braising liquid and season it with additional salt or curry powder if desired.
6. Add the pheasant pieces back to the pot, along with any drippings or juices that may have accumulated at the bottom of the plate. Cover the pot, bring the korma to a simmer, and cook on the stovetop for 45 to 60 minutes. When done, the white meat on the breast pieces should easily pull away when tested with a fork and the dark meat should be tender and full of juices.
7. Serve pheasant over jasmine rice or quinoa, ladle over a generous amount of the korma sauce (do your best to leave any whole chiles or cardamom pods behind), and garnish with cilantro.