Tag Archives: ground pheasant

Pheasant Meatball Curry

This is a pretty quick and easy curry, unless you count all the work Missy did to find us the pheasants.


Aside from grinding the meat myself, which is really pretty quick, I cut corners by using prepared curry powder, ginger, and garlic. I already had roasted peppers and crushed tomatoes in the freezer, so it couldn’t have come together any easier. A little bag of shelled peas thrown in to simmer at the end finished it off.

You can use a smaller amount of tomato if you like more emphasis on the coconut milk and a less-pink sauce.

Pheasant Meatball Curry

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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about 1 1/2 pounds ground pheasant breast

1/2 cup roughly chopped flat leaf parsley

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon grated ginger or ginger paste

1 tablespoon grated garlic or garlic paste


1 medium onion, diced

1 tablespoon (or more) curry powder

1 tablespoon grated ginger or ginger paste

1 tablespoon grated garlic or garlic paste

1/2-1 cup canned crushed tomatoes or fresh tomatoes, peeled and seeded

2 red bell peppers, roasted, peeled, and seeded, chopped

1 can coconut milk

1 cup fresh shelled peas, if available, or frozen peas

  1. Mix all the meatball ingredients lightly. I like to use a large meat fork with just two tines to mix lightly. There is no egg or breadcrumb filler in these meatballs, so it’s not hard to lightly mix. I like the shaggy look of the parsley sticking out all over these meatballs.
  2. Form into about 21 meatballs, slightly smaller than golf balls, setting aside until the curry is ready.
  3. In a large skillet with straight sides, sometimes called a chicken fryer, cook the diced onion in about 1 tablespoon cooking oil, such as canola or coconut, over medium heat until soft and translucent, but not browned.
  4. Stir in the garlic, ginger, and curry powder to release those flavors.
  5. Stir in the crushed tomatoes and peppers.
  6. Stir in the coconut milk.
  7. Place the meatballs in one layer in the sauce. Don’t worry that they are not covered and don’t stir yet or you will break them up.
  8. Cover the pan and bring the sauce to a low boil, then lower to a simmer. Simmer covered for about 15 minutes, stirring to turn the meatballs over after 10 minutes.
  9. Sprinkle the peas, fresh or frozen, over the meatballs and sauce, and continue to simmer, covered, for about 5 more minutes. The meatballs should reach an internal temperature of about 140°.

Serve the meatballs and sauce over rice.

Pheasant Italian Meatballs

This is the last of the pheasant from this year’s harvest, but I still have some grouse left for a few more game recipes, and there is that venison backstrap in the freezer waiting for the grill.

I used 2 pounds of ground pheasant and 1 pound of ground pork, but if you’re making a chicken or turkey meatball, you could make up a different ratio that even adds veal. Three pounds of meat yielded about 3 dozen meatballs of golf ball size. It was a lot, but we had subs the first night and pasta the second. My husband had subs again the third night, but I was all meatballed out by then. I also made my own sauce, because I’m not too fond of any of the commercial sauces. Thank you, pheasant and little dog hunter.

The most interesting choice I made was to use panko crumbs instead of soft fresh or fine dry crumbs. I liked the body they added to the meatballs, keeping them moist, as well. Not sure how that works, but it works.

Pheasant Italian Meatballs

  • Servings: makes about 3 dozen
  • Difficulty: easy
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I let my meatballs cook completely in simmering sauce, with no beforehand browning. I used a true simmer gas burner, which is lower than the low on most burners. If you only have regular burners, the cooking time would be shorter, because I find that the lowest setting on my other burners keeps dishes at more of low boil that you have to watch for burning and sticking. I can just let my pot sit for hours without that happening. The downside is that my sauce doesn’t want to thicken at that low simmer, so I remove the meatballs later, and turn up the heat to cook down the sauce, uncovered.

For the meatballs:

2 lbs ground pheasant (or any poultry)

1 lb ground pork (mine was reduced fat)

Optional: 2 tablespoons bacon fat or other fat to compensate for lean meats

2 cups panko bread crumbs

2 eggs

2 tablespoons chopped garlic

1/2-1 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley (I keep it ready in the freezer)

1 teaspoon dried oregano

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon pepper

  1. Mix all the ingredients with a large meat fork, which cuts through all the ingredients, rather than mashing them as a spoon does. Or mix with your hands, which gives you a good sense of when everything is evenly combined. I start out with the fork and then get my hands in there to fold it all together.
  2. Into a large pot (about 6 qt) of simmering sauce, drop shaped meatballs, first covering the bottom and then dropping some into the spaces between balls, until all are made and in the pot. Do not worry that some are sitting on the top and not covered by sauce. DO NOT STIR at this point. Your meatballs will not fall apart if you just put the lid on and let them simmer away. I go in after about 1 1/2 hours to give a light stir, just to see how it all looks. Once the meatballs are in the sauce, this is pretty much a hands-off process. People who complain that their meatballs fall apart if not browned first are obviously unable to keep that spoon out of the pot. I can see how that would be an issue without a true simmer burner, though. If you must pre-cook your meatballs, I would bake them, as in this recipe: “Jen’s Incredible Baked Meatballs
  3. Remove meatballs after 2-3 hours and reduce sauce, if necessary, by raising the heat to a low boil and cooking uncovered to desired thickness. Return meatballs to sauce to keep hot.

For my sauce:

2 28 oz cans peeled plum tomatoes, crushed by hand or with a potato masher

1 tube or small can of tomato paste (sizes vary from 4.5 to 6 oz)

Optional: water, as needed, if you think the sauce is too thick at this point

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons chopped garlic

1/2-1 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

1 teaspoon dried oregano

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon pepper

  1. You’ll notice that my sauce flavorings are the same as in the meatball. Don’t expect the sauce to flavor the meatball all by itself.
  2. Mix all ingredients in your large pot and bring to a simmer while making the meatballs. The sauce should be simmering before dropping in the meatballs so you don’t have to bring the whole thing up to heat.
  3. After removing the cooked meatballs, I used a hand blender to further chop up some of the tomato pieces to help it thicken, and I cooked it, uncovered for about a half hour, stirring often. Then I returned the meatballs to the sauce to keep hot.

At a simmer, you can cook meatballs for a looooong time, longer than the 2-3 hours, if necessary, and of course, you can make them in the crockpot, but my crock is cracked. Make sure you have plenty of extra Parmesan for garnish and mozzarella if making subs.

To reheat the next day, let the meatballs and sauce come to room temperature, or heat slightly in the microwave, before heating on the stove at a low temperature or simmer. I don’t like to heat them completely in the microwave, which seems to have a toughening effect on meat.

Deep Fried Pheasant Egg Rolls

I wanted to make fried dumplings, but couldn’t find dumpling wrappers and didn’t want to fool around with cutting the egg roll wrappers into circles, so egg rolls it is. Not much different in ingredients or flavor from the other Asian-inspired pheasant dishes I’ve made, but I will be deep frying these, and that’s always a treat. I even went back and changed the title of the recipe to include the cooking method, just because “deep fried” is such a hook.

I find the big question about the vegetables in an egg roll to be how to wilt them so they still have crunch in the finished dish without being raw. The cabbage, I’m not worried about; it’s the carrots. Some people say to dump the just-cooked hot meat on top of them to wilt them, while others cite varying degrees of sautéing them. I’m going to throw them in with the ground meat after it is browned just for a minute and then cool it in the fridge before filling. Cooling/resting also allows the meat to absorb cooking juices, so that you don’t drain off more than you should. You don’t want a filling that makes the egg rolls soggy, but you don’t want it to be too dry either.

My rolling was maybe not as tight as it could have been if I had broken up the ground meat more in browning, but it was tight enough that the frying oil did not get inside, probably because I did not overfill them. Strips or shreds of meat would have been another choice for a less lumpy filling. I used more meat than vegetables in these egg rolls. You might like different proportions.

Deep Fried Pheasant Egg Rolls

  • Servings: makes 20-30 egg rolls
  • Difficulty: moderate
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1 lb ground pheasant (or chicken, turkey, pork)

1 minced green onion

1 tablespoon ginger, grated

1-2 cloves garlic, grated

1 teaspoon sesame oil

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 lb Napa Cabbage, thinly sliced

1 cup carrots, shredded

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1/2 teaspoon sesame oil

1 or more packages egg roll wrappers

oil for frying

  1. Mix ground meat with minced onion and seasonings. This can be made earlier and refrigerated until ready to cook. Brown the meat mixture over medium-high heat in at least two tablespoons of oil if it is very lean like pheasant.
  2. Toss in the cabbage and carrots with the additional soy sauce and sesame oil. Toss for 1-2 minutes until wilted. Remove from heat and spread out mixture on a sheet pan and refrigerate for about 20 minutes until cool. Drain, if necessary.
  3. Heat oil for frying to 375°. I used a deep fryer, but you can use a straight-sided frying pan with about 2 inches of oil.
  4. While the oil is heating, wrap about 1 large tablespoon of the mixture in each egg roll wrapper and wrap, securing the end corner with a small dab of either a mixture of flour and water or beaten egg white. Roll all the egg rolls, covering them with a towel to prevent drying.
  5. Fry about 4 at a time until golden brown. Drain on paper towels.

Chinese Pheasant Meatballs and Cabbage

So far, this is my favorite pheasant meatball, not just because they simmer in broth instead of needing to be browned, but I like the vibrant flavors of ginger and garlic and soy with the pheasant. They are big enough to be called Lion’s Head meatballs, if you know those recipes, although the only thing that ties all such recipes together seems to be the size of the meatball. My 1.5 pounds of ground pheasant made 12 large meatballs. Most recipes that called for a pound of meat, suggest making 8 meatballs.

I have a recipe in a Chinese cookbook for “Meatballs and Cabbage” that I followed for cooking directions, but the seasoning seemed too tame to me, so I added some extra ingredients.

Chinese Pheasant Meatballs and Cabbage

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Prepare the meatballs:

1 1/2 lbs ground pheasant (or pork or chicken, etc.)

1 tablespoon cornstarch

3 cloves garlic, minced or grated

1 tablespoon ginger, minced or grated

1 tablespoon rice vinegar (my ginger was stored in vinegar, so included in that ingredient)

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 teaspoon sesame oil

salt & pepper

Mix all the ingredients and set aside or refrigerate for up to four hours. When ready to cook the dish, form the meat mixture into about 12 large meatballs.

Prepare the cabbage and assemble the ingredients:

1 head of Napa cabbage, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise

1 1/4 cups chicken stock

2 tablespoons soy sauce

  1. Heat 3 tablespoons oil in large sautéing pan with straight sides and a tight-fitting lid over medium heat. Sauté the cabbage, stirring until wilted, not browned.
  2. Place meatballs on top of cabbage and pour in the stock/soy sauce mixture. Cover with the lid and reduce the temperature to low after the liquid comes to a slow boil. Simmer for 15 minutes or until the meatballs are done.

Serve in bowls as is or with noodles or rice.