Fried Pheasant and Waffles Recipe

Chicken and waffles just makes sense. Although separately these meals usually sit at opposing ends of the day, they come together to create a perfectly balanced combo. This is the definition of comfort food: crispy, buttermilk-soaked meat and fluffy, sweet waffles. Carbs be damned.

Without belittling the significance of swapping pheasant for chicken, I will note that the real game changer for the waffles is yeast. Using yeast will leaven the waffle and help develop the gluten in the wheat to create a superior batter. The end result will be a light, crisp waffle that compliments the meat rather than weighing it down. Trust me, they’re worth the wait.

pheasant dish

Serving size

4

Time to make

30 minutes

Ingredients

4 pheasant breasts
2 cups buttermilk
3 cups bread flour
1 tbsp. kosher salt
1 tbsp. black pepper
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 pinch cayenne

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups whole milk
1 stick melted butter
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tbsp. dried yeast
1 tbsp. granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 eggs

Also works with

Any upland game

Special equipment

Waffle maker, deep fryer

Method

1
  1. Cut the breasts into two strips lengthwise. Soak them in buttermilk for 2 hours or overnight. This allows the acid to tenderize the meat.
  2. For the waffles, pour the milk, butter, eggs, sugar, and vanilla into a saucepan. Place the saucepan on medium-low heat until the mixture reaches 110 degrees. When temperature is reached, remove batter from heat and mix in the yeast. Let yeast activate for about 10 minutes, or until the mixture starts to foam.
  3. When the yeast is activated, transfer the batter to a mixing bowl and whisk in the flour and salt. When the flour is fully incorporated into the liquid, cover with plastic wrap and set aside for 1 to 2 hours. This allows the gluten to develop.
  4. When the batter is ready and bubbly, pour it into a waffle iron. Follow your waffle maker’s directions (mine calls for one cup of batter per waffle). The batter will be thick and gummy, so try your best to distribute evenly. Cook until golden brown.
  5. Mix all the dry ingredients for the pheasant into a shallow dish and whisk together thoroughly. Place dripping wet pieces of pheasant into the flour mixture. Firmly press the mixture into the meat. This will make sure a good layer of batter coats the meat and gives it a proper crust. Carefully drop fillets into 350-degree oil for about 5 minutes or until golden brown.
  6. Coordinate cooking waffles and strips simultaneously. Serve warm waffles with two strips of fried pheasant on top of each. Add a dollop of butter and cover in warm maple syrup.