I rarely use a recipe when I cook. Usually my kitchen resembles an episode of Chopped where I’m forced to create dinner using random ingredients. This particular recipe was developed one evening when I desperately needed to go grocery shopping. I had very little to cook with, but felt inspired to use a pair of pheasant breasts, grapes and a shallot.
With those three ingredients and a pantry full of oils, herbs, stock and vinegar, I was able to create what has become one of my favorite dishes. The recipe below is relatively simple. The pheasant is pan roasted and the savory sauce is made using the juices from the meat.
Winter squash or sweet potatoes are excellent side choices to complement this meal.
- 4 skinless pheasant breasts
- 2 tsp. dried rosemary, crushed in a mortar
- 1 1/2 cup of red, seedless grapes
- 1 shallot, sliced
- 3/4 cup chicken stock
- 2 tbsp. white balsamic vinegar, substitute with balsamic or white wine vinegar
- Oil or clarified butter for cooking
- Pat of butter to finish
- Salt and pepper
Also works with
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Season the pheasant breasts with a sprinkle of salt before cooking. If possible, do this step an hour to a day in advance.
- Drizzle a tablespoon of oil over the grapes and spread across a sheet pan. Season with salt, pepper and crushed rosemary. Roast for 15-20 minutes, or until they are just about to burst. Remove and set aside. Reduce the oven to 325 degrees.
- Pat the pheasant dry with paper towels and then season each side with cracked black pepper. Heat a large, oven-safe sauté pan over high heat. Add a drizzle of oil or tablespoon of clarified butter. When the pan is hot, use tongs to lay down each breast, leaving space in between. Sear the breast quickly until golden brown and flip once a crust has developed. This should take only a minute or two. Immediately transfer the pan to the oven to finish cooking for about 4 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the oven and return to the stovetop on medium heat. Set the pheasant breasts aside to rest. Add another small drizzle of oil or clarified butter to the pan along with the sliced shallots. The pan will be very hot, so keep the shallots moving to avoid burning. Reduce heat if necessary.
- Once the shallots are soft and translucent, deglaze with stock and vinegar, scraping up any bits at the bottom. Let the sauce boil and reduce in half. Pour in the roasted grapes along with their juices. If the sauce seems tart, swirl in a pat of butter to finish. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
- Serve the pan-roasted pheasant breast with a spoonful of the roasted grape sauce.