Game Bird Tortilla Soup

Game Bird Tortilla Soup

  • Course

    Main

  • Duration

    2 1/2 hours

  • Serves

    4
Chef’s notes

Back when we lived in North Dakota, my husband and I did a lot of pheasant huntingSome days we would sneak out of work early, run home to change, grab the dog, and make it to the nearest PLOTS field just in time for a quick push before sundown. 

I call this the North Dakota happy hour. 

Sometimes we left empty handed, but we’d often end up with a mixed bag of pheasants, huns and rabbits. The fun part was not knowing what kind of protein would cross our kitchen table.

I’d store the thighs of all of our birds until I had collected about a pound, or roughly two limits of pheasants. The thigh meat from game birds is usually pretty tough, so slow cooking it is a great way to tenderize the meat and warm your bones on cold weather days. 

This recipe is one of my favorites to make. It’s adapted from a basic chicken tortilla soup with the addition of extra veggies to insure leftovers. I often use pheasant, but any game bird or cottontail will work just as well.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. breast/thigh meat from any game bird
  • 1/2 large onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 celery stick, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 jalapeno, deseeded and chopped
  • 1 roasted poblano, chopped
  • 1 qt. poultry stock
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 can (14 oz) fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 t. cumin
  • 1 t. oregano
  • 1 t. ancho chili powder
  • 2 small zucchinis/yellow squash, chopped into 1” pieces
  • Corn tortillas/tortilla chips
  • Cilantro, avocado, cheese, sour cream, etc.
  • Oil/ butter/duck fat for cooking
  • Salt & pepper

Also works with

rabbit and squirrel

Preparation

Season the meat with salt and pepper in advance, up to 24 hours if possible. Pat dry with paper towels and chop the meat into smaller pieces for quicker cooking.

Heat a large dutch oven or pot over high heat and pour about a tablespoon of oil. Swirl to coat the pan. Once hot, use tongs to lay the pieces of meat down and brown each side. Work in batches to avoid overcrowding pan.

Reduce heat and add additional oil if needed. Sauté the onion, carrot and celery until they begin to soften. Add the garlic, jalapeño and poblano. Cook for an additional minute.

Slowly pour in the stock, scraping up the food at the bottom to deglaze. Add the lime juice and diced tomatoes. Season with cumin, oregano, and ancho and stir to combine.

Bring the liquids to a gentle boil and turn the heat down as low as it can go. Place the lid on and allow to cook for roughly 1 1/2 – 2 hours or until the meat is fork tender but hasn’t shred apart. Remove the lid at this point to let liquids reduce.

Add the chopped squash during the last 20-30 minutes of cooking to avoid over-cooking and getting mushy. By the time the squash is cooked through, the meat should start to shred. Taste and season if necessary with salt or pepper.

Serve the soup with thin tortilla strips or chips and garnish with cilantro, avocado, cheese etc.

Chef’s notes

Back when we lived in North Dakota, my husband and I did a lot of pheasant huntingSome days we would sneak out of work early, run home to change, grab the dog, and make it to the nearest PLOTS field just in time for a quick push before sundown. 

I call this the North Dakota happy hour. 

Sometimes we left empty handed, but we’d often end up with a mixed bag of pheasants, huns and rabbits. The fun part was not knowing what kind of protein would cross our kitchen table.

I’d store the thighs of all of our birds until I had collected about a pound, or roughly two limits of pheasants. The thigh meat from game birds is usually pretty tough, so slow cooking it is a great way to tenderize the meat and warm your bones on cold weather days. 

This recipe is one of my favorites to make. It’s adapted from a basic chicken tortilla soup with the addition of extra veggies to insure leftovers. I often use pheasant, but any game bird or cottontail will work just as well.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. breast/thigh meat from any game bird
  • 1/2 large onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 celery stick, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 jalapeno, deseeded and chopped
  • 1 roasted poblano, chopped
  • 1 qt. poultry stock
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 can (14 oz) fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 t. cumin
  • 1 t. oregano
  • 1 t. ancho chili powder
  • 2 small zucchinis/yellow squash, chopped into 1” pieces
  • Corn tortillas/tortilla chips
  • Cilantro, avocado, cheese, sour cream, etc.
  • Oil/ butter/duck fat for cooking
  • Salt & pepper

Also works with

rabbit and squirrel

Preparation

Season the meat with salt and pepper in advance, up to 24 hours if possible. Pat dry with paper towels and chop the meat into smaller pieces for quicker cooking.

Heat a large dutch oven or pot over high heat and pour about a tablespoon of oil. Swirl to coat the pan. Once hot, use tongs to lay the pieces of meat down and brown each side. Work in batches to avoid overcrowding pan.

Reduce heat and add additional oil if needed. Sauté the onion, carrot and celery until they begin to soften. Add the garlic, jalapeño and poblano. Cook for an additional minute.

Slowly pour in the stock, scraping up the food at the bottom to deglaze. Add the lime juice and diced tomatoes. Season with cumin, oregano, and ancho and stir to combine.

Bring the liquids to a gentle boil and turn the heat down as low as it can go. Place the lid on and allow to cook for roughly 1 1/2 – 2 hours or until the meat is fork tender but hasn’t shred apart. Remove the lid at this point to let liquids reduce.

Add the chopped squash during the last 20-30 minutes of cooking to avoid over-cooking and getting mushy. By the time the squash is cooked through, the meat should start to shred. Taste and season if necessary with salt or pepper.

Serve the soup with thin tortilla strips or chips and garnish with cilantro, avocado, cheese etc.

Essential Meatcrafter™️ Knife
Save this product
Benchmade
$180.00
A hybrid hunting fixed blade with a fine, smooth edge to trim, debone, or slice your preferred cuts of meat. Makes just as much sense in the back of your truck as it does in the kitchen drawer.
Meater+ Bluetooth Thermometer
Save this product
Meater
$99.99
With up to 165 ft Wireless Range, MEATER is the first truly wireless smart meat thermometer.
7 Pack Seasonings Gift Pack
Save this product
Spiceology
$59.99
Bring home the entire Mega Spice Collection and change the way you cook.
The MeatEater Fish and Game Cookbook
Save this product
Penguin Random House
$35.00
The definitive guide to cooking wild game, including fish and fowl, featuring more than 100 new recipes.
Save this recipe

Game Bird Tortilla Soup

Recipe by: Danielle Prewett
Game Bird Tortilla Soup
  • Course

    Main

  • Duration

    2 1/2 hours

  • Serves

    4
Chef’s notes

Back when we lived in North Dakota, my husband and I did a lot of pheasant huntingSome days we would sneak out of work early, run home to change, grab the dog, and make it to the nearest PLOTS field just in time for a quick push before sundown. 

I call this the North Dakota happy hour. 

Sometimes we left empty handed, but we’d often end up with a mixed bag of pheasants, huns and rabbits. The fun part was not knowing what kind of protein would cross our kitchen table.

I’d store the thighs of all of our birds until I had collected about a pound, or roughly two limits of pheasants. The thigh meat from game birds is usually pretty tough, so slow cooking it is a great way to tenderize the meat and warm your bones on cold weather days. 

This recipe is one of my favorites to make. It’s adapted from a basic chicken tortilla soup with the addition of extra veggies to insure leftovers. I often use pheasant, but any game bird or cottontail will work just as well.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. breast/thigh meat from any game bird
  • 1/2 large onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 celery stick, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 jalapeno, deseeded and chopped
  • 1 roasted poblano, chopped
  • 1 qt. poultry stock
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 can (14 oz) fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 t. cumin
  • 1 t. oregano
  • 1 t. ancho chili powder
  • 2 small zucchinis/yellow squash, chopped into 1” pieces
  • Corn tortillas/tortilla chips
  • Cilantro, avocado, cheese, sour cream, etc.
  • Oil/ butter/duck fat for cooking
  • Salt & pepper

Also works with

rabbit and squirrel

Preparation

Season the meat with salt and pepper in advance, up to 24 hours if possible. Pat dry with paper towels and chop the meat into smaller pieces for quicker cooking.

Heat a large dutch oven or pot over high heat and pour about a tablespoon of oil. Swirl to coat the pan. Once hot, use tongs to lay the pieces of meat down and brown each side. Work in batches to avoid overcrowding pan.

Reduce heat and add additional oil if needed. Sauté the onion, carrot and celery until they begin to soften. Add the garlic, jalapeño and poblano. Cook for an additional minute.

Slowly pour in the stock, scraping up the food at the bottom to deglaze. Add the lime juice and diced tomatoes. Season with cumin, oregano, and ancho and stir to combine.

Bring the liquids to a gentle boil and turn the heat down as low as it can go. Place the lid on and allow to cook for roughly 1 1/2 – 2 hours or until the meat is fork tender but hasn’t shred apart. Remove the lid at this point to let liquids reduce.

Add the chopped squash during the last 20-30 minutes of cooking to avoid over-cooking and getting mushy. By the time the squash is cooked through, the meat should start to shred. Taste and season if necessary with salt or pepper.

Serve the soup with thin tortilla strips or chips and garnish with cilantro, avocado, cheese etc.