Pheasant was introduced to the United Kingdom in the 11th century as a game bird, and has remained a popular one ever since. The image of a weekend hunt on a crisp autumn morning looms large in the imagination, and is still a reality in the countryside of the U.K.
Our wild Scottish game is procured in private weekend estate hunts organized exclusively for D'Artagnan. They are immediately processed in a facility supervised by the European Economic Community Inspectors, and arrive in the U.S. within just two days of the hunt, for the freshest wild game birds possible.
Many game meat aficionados wait with increasing excitement as pheasant season approaches. What they look forward to is the taste of wild pheasant that is richer than its domesticated counterpart.
That flavor is due to the exercise and diet of these wild birds. Roaming the fields and forest gives them more muscle, and eating only forage brings a unique flavor with hints of heather to the lean meat.
Lean game birds can do with a little brining before cooking, to help maintain moisture. After patting it dry, place the bird breast side up in the refrigerator overnight (do plan ahead for this) to dry out the skin so that it crisps when roasted. And start with a very hot oven for 15 minutes or so, then reduce the temperature and roast for 30 minutes. The three B’s, basting, barding and braising, are always useful when cooking lean game meat.
Note: game meat may occasionally contain the shot. Chew with caution.