Roasted Pheasant with Truffles

This dish is nearly as good without the truffles. Be sure not to overcook it, or the meat will be dry.

Wine recommendations: Sommelier Andrew Green likes the way Riesling cleanses the palate after each bite of this rich meat. His pick? The Dr. Loosen 1997 Ürziger Würzgarten Auslese. For a red, he looks to Burgundy, especially wines from Nuit-Saint-Georges, such as the Domaine Robert Chevillon 1999 Les Bousselots, which echoes the earthiness of the truffles, or the Antonin Rodet 2000 Les Pôrets.

  • 2 (2½ pounds each) whole pheasants
  • 5 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • Ă‚ÂĽ cup onion, diced
  • Ă‚ÂĽ cup leek, diced
  • Ă‚ÂĽ cup carrot, diced
  • Ă‚ÂĽ cup celery, diced
  • 2 cups red Burgundy or other dry
  • red wine
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 5 sprigs fresh parsley stems
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 bay leaf
  • White truffle oil (optional)
  • 2 ounces truffles for serving*

(*Note: Use fresh Perigord black truffles in the winter, and white Alba truffles in the fall. You can substitute preserved truffles when not in season.)

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Stuff 1 sprig of thyme and 1 rosemary sprig under the skin of each pheasant breast. Season the birds with salt and pepper and place them on a roasting rack in a roasting pan, breast side down. Roast for about 45 minutes—the interior should still be pink, or the pheasant will become dry. Transfer to a plate, tent with foil and let rest.

Meanwhile, transfer the pan juices to a large sauté pan. Cook over medium heat and add the onion, leek, carrot and celery. Sauté until lightly browned, about 3 minutes, then add the wine and raise the heat to high. Simmer until reduced to a glaze, about 10 minutes. Pour in the chicken stock, and add the remaining thyme, parsley stems, garlic and bay leaf. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until reduced by half, about 7 minutes. Strain the sauce through a fine-mesh sieve and return it to the pan. Simmer over medium heat until reduced to a thin glaze, about 5 minutes longer. Pour the juices collected under the pheasant into the saucepan and season with salt and pepper and a few drops of truffle oil, if desired.

Carve the pheasant breast and legs. Spoon the sauce around the plate and shave truffles over all.

Published on July 1, 2010