Marinated Pheasant with Pecan Pesto Vinaigrette

Let’s say you found a pheasant in the back of your freezer and it’s a year old or more. The thing about meat is, it just doesn’t get better with prolonged freezing. This is true with beef, more so with poultry and fish…forget about it. When it comes to fish, fresh is always best. But this recipe is about pheasant. If your bird has been frozen for awhile, it just might need a little help. Freezing tends to dry out meats, especially if you have not caught on to the vacuum-packaging thing. If you don’t have a vacuum-packaging machine, like FoodSaver, go get one now. One of the best ways to help out a tired old frozen bird is with a good marinade. Marinades will add flavor to meats that are long past fresh. Don’t use marinades to cover up foods that either look bad or smell bad. There’s a reason they got that way and they should be disposed of. I like to serve this with rice.

Marinated Pheasant with Pecan Pesto Vinaigrette


  • 2 pheasants quartered
  • Marinade
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 lemons juice only
  • 1/2 cup onion sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning

Pecan Pesto Vinaigrette

  • 1/2 cup pecan pieces roasted in a 325 degree oven until slightly browned
  • 2 garlic cloves chopped
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1 lemon juice only
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup white wine vinegar
  • salt and pepper


  • Combine marinade ingredients. Place pheasant pieces in a ceramic, plastic or glass dish and pour marinade over. Cover and refrigerate, turning occasionally. Marinate for 6 – 12 hours. To cook, remove leg/thigh sections and place in a well-oiled baking dish. Pour marinade over. Cover with foil and bake in a 375 degree oven for 1 hour. Add breast pieces, cover and bake for 20 minutes more or until pheasant breast pieces are just cooked. To serve, arrange pheasant pieces on plates and drizzle vinaigrette over.
  • In a food processor or blender, process pecan pieces, garlic, basil, lemon and a few tablespoons of the olive oil until it forms a paste. Add parmesan cheese and vinegar. Pulse to blend. While motor is running, add remaining oil in a thin stream until emulsified. Season with salt and pepper.

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