“Like most good menus ours gets heartier in the fall, and with the very strong hunting culture in Iowa, game birds are a particular favorite. We tweaked the classic, homey pot pie with a confit of pheasant from Giannini Farms to create a rich, rib-sticking dinner that’s perfect for these crisp autumn nights. The sage accents the buttery richness of your favorite pie dough, and serving it with Gruner Veltliner Loibenberg Smaragd from Alzinger, as recommended by well-known Austrian wine guru Terry Theise, would be the perfect fit.”
We couldn’t agree more!
Here’s the recipe:
2 cups duck fat
3.5 cups pheasant, duck or chicken stock
¾ cup butter
¾ cup flour
1 tablespoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons butter
1 large yellow onion, diced
1 cup fresh or frozen sweet peas
2 carrots, diced
1 cup fresh parsley, minced
½ cup fresh sage, chopped (or ¼ cup dried)
½ cup cognac
Pastry for double-crust pie
Bone the pheasants and season the meat with a liberal dose of salt. Place in a shallow baking dish and press with a weight (I use a 6-pack of beer!). Refrigerate overnight.
Add the duck fat and place in a 250 oven for 4 hours, or until the meat is very tender. You have just made pheasant confit!
Meanwhile, bring the stock to a boil and in a separate melt the 3/4 cup of butter. Whisk the flour into the butter to form a roux, then reduce heat and cook, stirring frequently, a further 10 minutes.
Whisk the roux into the boiling stock a little at a time until you attain your preferred thickness for this sauce. Reduce heat to low, season to taste with salt, pepper, Worcestershire and nutmeg and stir occasionally while working on the next step.
In a large sauté pan, melt the 2nd listed butter over medium-high heat and sauté the onions, peas, and carrots with the sage and parsley until just tender. Deglaze with the cognac (use caution – cognac may ignite). Reduce until nearly all the liquid has evaporated, 3-4 minutes.
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees f.
Chop the confit of pheasant and add to the thickened stock along with the sautéed vegetables. Taste and adjust seasoning. Place in pie shell, and top with the other piece of pastry. Cut 5 small slits in the top in a star pattern as vents, place on a cookie sheet to catch potential drips, then bake in a 425 degree f. oven for about 40 minutes or until golden brown.
These may also be done in small ramekins for individual pot pies. Serves 6-8