This hearty and warming soup is particularly appropriate for the holiday season. This variation comes from an amalgamation of recipes from The Silver Palate and Food & Wine Magazine. While this recipe appears to be a bit involved, it is quite straight-forward.
I have taken the liberty of bolding a few steps to make sure that you follow instructions carefully. Also, the recipe calls for lentils or wild rice. (Editor’s Note: Wild rice has half the carbs of lentils, so go ahead and double it!)
A Note to Fellow Gourmands: This is truly a delightful “soup” and certainly fit for a King. As experienced cooks know, using Benton’s Bacon makes a huge difference in cooking. You can only order Benton’s online and there is often a 5-week wait. It is worth waiting for because you will never use anything else for cooking.
Pheasant Soup My Way
- 1 pheasant 2 1/2 - 3 lbs
- 1 orange
- salt and pepper to taste
- 8 slices of Benton bacon
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 3 leeks sliced
- 3 carrots chopped
- 1-2 ribs of celery chopped
- 2 teaspoons of chopped rosemary
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 6 to 8 cups of chicken broth
- 14 ounces can of diced tomatoes
- 1 cup of red wine
- 1 - 2 bay leaves
- 1/2 cup of rinsed wild rice or 3/4 to 1 lb of lentils
- 2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
- Garnish: 1 tablespoon of butter and 1/4 cup shiitake mushrooms also 1/2 to 1 cup chopped parsley
- Preheat oven to 350º F
- Freshen pheasant with orange halves, salt and pepper and place two slices of bacon (Benton's of course) over the breast and roast for 45 minutes or so, basting occasionally.
- Dice rest of bacon and fry in a stockpot until crisp. Remove and set aside.
- Add leeks, onion, celery, carrots and rosemary to bacon drippings and sauté until vegetables soften (about 10 to 12 minutes)
- Add tomatoes, chicken broth, bay leaves, fennel and wine
- Remove as much skin as possible from the pheasant and put aside for rendering. Place the carcass (discard bacon and oranges) into the broth
- Reduce heat and simmer covered (1 1/4 hours with lentils) or 35 minutes and then add the wild rice and simmer for another 30 minutes or so.
- Remove the pheasant carcass and allow to cool slightly until the pheasant meat can be pulled off the bone. Chop and return to pot. Stir in vinegar and salt and pepper.
- Meanwhile, in a separate skillet, heat butter over medium heat and add shiitake mushrooms and cook until tender - about 4 minutes.
- If desired (and you should!), render pheasant skin until crispy.
- Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with chopped bacon, sliced mushrooms and rendered pheasant skin (chopped). Add the parsley for a little color.