The pheasant is a gallinaceous bird originally from Asia. The male has brightly-coloured plumage. The pheasant has a very long tail, a plump body, a bright spot of colour around the eye and a white neck. There are two varieties:
- Common pheasant
greenish-bronze head and throat (the female is greyish brown), with a blue-green and black tail
the plumage is brown and green and marked with a white collar
It is easy to distinguish between the male and female since the male is adorned in bright colours and has a very long tail, unlike the female which has drabber, light or dark brown plumage.
A hint from Mario Martel: Since pheasant is much leaner than traditional white meats, I advise cooking it at low heat: overcooking will make it tough and dry, which you naturally want to avoid.
Cooking tips from Philippe Chevrier
How can you tell a wild pheasant from a farmed pheasant? Meat from wild birds tends to be reddish, while farmed birds have white flesh with yellow fat around the wing joints.
Male or female?
Though the hens are more tender, the males have more flavour.
Cooking, as with grouse, should be done in two steps. The breasts can be roasted and served on a white truffle risotto. The thighs are cooked separately.
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