Sunday was a busy day. Peter and I began experimenting with construction our first piece of furniture. We broke out our new saw and hand sander and eagerly jumped into measurements and table design. Based on its current appearance, it might be safe to say that this table will serve as a temporary place holder until we find something better. And then, it will most likely be retired to an outdoor dining table. But we’ll see, the finished product could be 1000 times more beautiful than expected.
On a day when we’re outside in the hot sun pulling old nails from salvaged wood and cutting old planks, the last thing I feel motivated to do is come in the kitchen and cook the giant meal our stomachs were craving.
I had an easy potato recipe I wanted to try out. It was a bit heavy because it required frying little potato bites, but it looked delicious. I was planning on using up some of the pheasant in our freezer and thought why not fry that too just to make life easier. What resulted were deliciously crispy hot wing style pheasant nuggets. Although this meal was heavy and out of character for our house, it was exactly what we needed after our long day and we felt no guilt eating it up.
½ cup Panko breadcrumbs
5-6 pheasant breasts, cut into nugget size
8 T. butter
1/2 cup Frank’s red hot
2 t. garlic powder
2 t. cayenne powder
~1 cup canola oil
Begin by cracking the egg into a small bowl and lightly beating, set aside. Place the Panko in a flat dish or plate and set aside. Pour enough oil into a cast iron skillet to fill the bottom ½ inch. Heat until it sizzles when crumbs are dribbled in.
For the sauce, melt the butter in a small sauce pan. Once the butter is melted through, add the hot sauce, garlic powder, and cayenne powder. Mix through and set aside.
Place the pheasant pieces in the egg and toss to coat. Next, place the egg coated pheasant in the Panko and coat well with bread crumbs. Place crumb coated nuggets on a plate and work to coat all the pheasant nuggets.
Before beginning to fry, get your work station ready. I placed my nuggets to the right of the stove and placed folded paper towel to the left of the stove to use as a drying station for finished nuggets. I made sure I had a tongs out and ready to use. Lastly, I had my splatter screen sitting nearby in case things began to get messy. To start frying, place 6- 8 nuggets in the skillet. Be sure to leave space between the nuggets to allow you working space. When the edges begin to brown (this didn’t take very long), flip the nugget. Cook until both sides are nicely browned and remove to the paper toweling. Allow nuggets to drain while you cook the remaining nuggets.
Once all nuggets have been cooked and drained, place all pheasant nuggets in a shallow bowl. Pour the sauce mixture over the top and toss to coat. Serve with a big salad and your favorite homemade ranch dressing.
Results: We were initially concerned about the doneness of our nuggets because they cooked so quickly in the oil. After cutting several in half, it was clear they had all been cooked thoroughly. (If you do find your nuggets undercooked, bake them on a cookie sheet at 350 degrees before tossing them with the sauce.) These were surprisingly delicious. I think anything smothered in hot wing sauce is delicious, but pheasant meat can be difficult to cook at times, becoming tough and unappetizing when overdone. A few of our first pieces that nearly burned were a bit overdone; however, the vast majority of the nuggets were tender and enjoyable. I’m always looking for new pheasant recipes and this was the perfect Sunday night solution!