During the pheasant shooting season (October 1st – February 1st) I’m often given a brace or two of pheasants by kindly neighbours from local shoots. If your birds are damaged with a broken wing, if it has been shot through the breast or thigh you might not think its worth plucking carefully to roast. But here is a great dish to use up all the odd bits and children will absolutely love it… Pheasant ‘nuggets’.
plucked, skinned not necessarily gutted pheasants, see below
Salt & pepper
oil for frying
Mayonnaise to serve (optional)
Light your fire in the firepit and get your paella pan ready to hang. Don’t let the fire get too hot, use small to medium wood.
Holding the pheasant firmly, pluck a very few feathers off the breast. Make a small nick in the skin and pull it off, feathers and all, in one go. You will then easily see how damaged the bird is. Cut of the decent meat; legs and breasts cutting out any which is very bloody and damaged with lead shot. Cut the pieces into decent sized nugget / goujon shaped pieces. Put the flour, beaten egg and breadcrumbs into separate bowls then in turn dip the pheasant pieces first into the flour then egg and finally the breadcrumbs. Place the pieces slightly apart on a well oiled paella pan and hang over the fire. Grill the nuggets for about 15 minutes, turning occasionally, ensuring so that they cook without burning. Adjust the chain to regulate the heat from the fire. After about 15 minutes they will be crispy, lightly browned and cooked through. Serve with mayonnaise to dip into and perhaps a crispy salad.
If you have heaps of birds the prepared nuggets can be frozen and saved for another day, perhaps when they are out of season and you might just fancy a bit of game. No need to defrost just grill from frozen giving them a bit longer to cook through.
Brief video of Pheasant Nuggets cooking in the Paella pan.