Pheasant in Phyllo
Golden phyllo packets hold an earthy mixture of pheasant and mushrooms. The creamy sauce is ingeniously poured into the finished packets with a funnel made of folded foil. A salad of diced vegetables and a cluster of oak leaf lettuce are the simple adornments; mint leaf adds zest.
- Pheasant - 1, dressed, giblets reserved
- Olive Oil - 2 tablespoons
- Unsalted Butter - 1/2 tablespoon
- Onion - 1/2 large, diced
- Garlic Cloves - 2, minced
- Mushrooms - 3 large (chanterelles or white mushrooms), sliced
- Rosemary Sprigs - 1, stemmed and chopped
- Salt and freshly ground white pepper
- Dry white wine - 3 tablespoons
- Heavy (whipping) cream - 3 tablespoons
- Egg Yolk - 1
- Zucchini - 1 medium, diced
- Cucumber - 1 medium, seeded and diced
- Roma tomatoes - 2, peeled, seeded, and diced
- Red Bell Pepper - 1/2, peeled, seeded, and diced
- Olive Oil - 2 to 3 tablespoons
- Salt - 2 pinches
- Freshly ground white pepper to taste
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Mushrooms - 2 large, sliced
- Phyllo Dough - 12 sheets
- Butter - 4 ounces (1 stick) clarified
- Heavy (whipping) cream - 1/2 cup
- Salt and freshly ground white pepper - 1 pinch each
- Balsamic Vinegar - 1 tablespoon
- Red oak lettuce - 2 handfuls, torn into bite-sized pieces
- Mint leaves - 8, minced
To prepare the pheasant: Skin and bone the pheasant and roughly chop the meat and giblets; set the aside. In a medium skillet, combine the oil, butter, onion, and garlic and heat over medium-high heat. Saute until the vegetables have softened. Add the mushrooms and saute 1 minute, stirring gently with a wooden spoon, then add the chopped meat mixture and saute just until cooked through. Add the rosemary, pepper, and salt. Stir to blend; cook 30 seconds. Add the wine and cream. Reduce the heat to medium and cook until the mixture is almost dry. Put the mixture and 1 egg yolk in a blender and pulse briefly; leave some texture. Set aside; if storing for more than 10 minutes, cover and place in the refrigerator. Set the skillet aside without washing it out.
To make the salad: Combine the zucchini, cucumber, tomato, and red pepper dice in a non-aluminum bowl. Add the olive oil and lemon juice and stir. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the sliced mushrooms. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 400 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread a phyllo sheet on a work surface. Brush with melted butter and top with another sheet of phyllo. Brush with butter again and top with a third sheet. Brush with butter, then mound one-fourth of the pheasant mixture in a rectangle in the center, leaving a margin of phyllo around the filling. Fold one of the long ends of the phyllo over the filling and tuck under, then roll up and press the edges to seal. Trim the short ends for a neat look and tuck under. Place on the prepared sheet. Repeat with the remaining phyllo and filling. Place the packets in the oven and bake until golden, about 7 minutes.
To make the sauce: Put the skillet used for the meat mixture back on the heat. Add the cream and stir up the browned bits from the pan. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the balsamic vinegar. Set aside.
Fold a small cone-shaped funnel from aluminum foil. Spoon a little of the dressing from the bottom of the vegetable salad oil into a small bowl and lightly toss the lettuce in the dressing.
To serve: Cut a small hole in the top of each pheasant packet. One at a time, insert the foil funnel into a packet through the hole and spoon in some of the sauce. Place a packet in the center of each serving dish. Spoon vegetable salad in a horseshoe shape around each packet. Place a cluster of dressed oak leaf lettuce in the open end of each horseshoe. Sprinkle the lettuce and salads with chopped mint.