Pheasant with Champagne Grapefruit Sauce

To the less adventurous, a recipe with “Champagne-Grapefruit Sauce” might seem a bit too, well…Californian. I have enough trouble trying to convince people in the southern U.S. states that we have ducks in California, lots of them. Some people think that we surf to work, stopping by a movie star’s home for a quick espresso. Well, we’re a little short on ocean and Hollywood types in northern central California, but we do have champagne, excuse me, “sparkling wine”, and grapefruit. I’m sure you’ve heard of a Mimosa, the champagne and orange juice concoction. They taste pretty good, yes?

I like to leave the wing bone intact when preparing boneless pheasant breasts. I just think it looks better. The sauce can be made ahead of time, except for the butter part and then finished (the butter part) just before serving. I usually garnish the finished dish with additional grapefruit segments or grapefruit zest.

Pheasant with Champagne Grapefruit Sauce


  • 8 pheasant breast halves preferably de-boned and with skin intact
  • Lawry’s Seasoned Salt and Seasoned Pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1/4 cup dry sparkling wine


  • 1 bottle dry sparkling wine; reserve 1/4 cup for above
  • 2 tablespoons shallots minced (or substitute white part of green onion)
  • 1 lemon juice only
  • 1 large grapefruit segmented and membranes removed
  • 4 tablespoons chilled butter
  • salt and white pepper to taste


  • Prepare sauce. In a medium saucepan, add first three sauce ingredients and reduce liquid to 1/2 cup over medium-high heat. Remove shallots. Add grapefruit segments and cook for 5 minutes. Allow mixture to cool, then transfer to a food processor or blender and process until smooth. Return to saucepan and heat sauce to warm. Just before serving, whisk in cold butter, a little at a time, until melted.
  • To prepare pheasant breasts, first season with salt and pepper. Heat oil and butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Brown pheasant lightly on both sides. Add garlic and sparkling wine and sauté until breasts are just-cooked. Overcooking will make your pheasant eat like cardboard. To serve, spoon some sauce onto plate and arrange cooked breasts on sauce. Spoon additional sauce over breasts.

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