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Pheasant Breast with Maple, Pearl Onions, and Red Grapes

Read an Upland Life review and adaptation of this recipe. A word from Upland Life on this recipe
Taken just as it is, this is a delightful dish, though a bit daunting for the more casual kitchen. You may want to read our review and adaptation of the recipe to see how we approached it. Enjoy!

Chef's Note (recipe by Chef Mario Martel, Quebec City)
This recipe can also be prepared with veal, chicken, pork or any other white meat. 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.

For presentation, I place the pheasant breasts on a bed of spaghetti squash and wild rice with mild garlic that I arrange in circles using a mold. They are accompanied by slices of yellow zucchini, thinly sliced carrots and other fresh vegetables. The plate is decorated with a dried thin crêpe and a thin slice of fried celeriac.

Ingredients for 4 servings:
  • 4 boned pheasant breasts
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) olive or walnut oil
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) maple syrup
  • 1 cup (250 ml) game stock or demi-glace
  • 1/3 cup (75 ml) whole pearl onions
  • 1/3 cup (75 ml) whole red grapes
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) port
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) chopped shallot
  • A pinch of nutmeg
Preparing the pheasant
Sear the pheasant breasts over high heat, skin-side down, in a little olive or walnut oil, turning from time to time; add the maple syrup, turn the breasts skin side down and cook in a 300F (150C) oven for about 7-10 minutes uncovered; remove; let rest, being sure to cover the breasts so they don't dry out.

Sauce and presentation
Place the jus from the pheasant and maple syrup into a saucepan, add the shallots, pearl onions and grapes; let everything caramelize; add the port and game stock or demi-glace; remove the pearl onions and grapes; let reduce with a touch of nutmeg until the sauce has reached the desired consistency; strain; add the grapes and onions back to the sauce and set aside - cover until serving time so that a skin does not form on the surface; arrange the whole breasts on a warm plate and spoon the maple sauce with the onions and red grapes around them; accompany with fresh vegetables.

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