I have always enjoyed pheasant hunting, the only problem is, I never get to go. I don't have a dog and pheasant hunting without one isn't as much fun as hunting with one. I used to have a dog, he was a half Brittany and half English springer named Cassidy and was full of energy. He was my only upland bird dog and was a ton of fun to hunt with, once I got him trained. On several occasions he would just run down a pheasant and bring it back to me with out me ever firing a shot. Sadly I had to give Cassidy away due to a few military deployments and ever since then I have been wanting another upland bird dog.
I have tried going out and walking fields without a dog and very rarely will I jump a pheasant. Over the last two years I have actually shot more pheasants while squirrel hunting then while pheasant hunting. Fortunately for me not having a dog hasn't kept me from getting pheasants. I have a lot of friends who go to South Dakota and hunt at game farms. This year I was given a bag of pheasant breasts and immediately new what I wanted to try.
I have been making boudins blancs for a number of years following a recipe out of Jane Grigson's book The Art of Charcuterie. I have always used a combination of chicken and pork like the recipe calls for but have always wanted to try it with rabbits or squirrels but never seem to shoot enough of either to give it a try. When I was given the bag of pheasant I new exactly what to do. These little sausages are very mild and have a pleasantly delicate texture, not exactly what you would expect from a sausage.
Pheasant Boudins Blancs
1 1/2 pounds pheasant meat
1 1/2 pounds pork fat back
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 tsp white pepper
1 tsp Quatre-epices
1 large or 2 medium yellow onions
1 cup bread crumbs soaked in 1/2 cup heavy cream
Hog casings for stuffing
3 additional cups of whole milk for poaching the boudins
1. Working with very cold equipment and nearly frozen meat and fat, grind the pheasant and pork fat along with the onion. Run it through a couple of times using the finest grinding die you have on its last pass through.
2. Mix in the remaining ingredients and then make a sample patty and fry it up quick to taste for seasoning.
3. The mixture will have a looser consistency than you are probably used to using so when you stuff it into the casing be careful not to over fill the casing. The boudins will expand when you poach them and can burst the casings if over filled.
4. After filling the casings tie off the links with butchers twine in whatever size link you prefer. I like to make 3-4 inch boudins.
5. Add 3 cups of whole milk to 5 cups of water and bring to a simmer. Poach the boudins in the milk for 5-10 minutes to ensure they are cooked through.
6. When you remove the boudins from the milk rinse them in the sink under cold water and then allow to cool. If you are going to cook them immediately brush them with butter and grill them, or my favorite way is to saute in butter with some thyme and garlic basting with butter until browned.
They can be frozen and used later also. This recipe make about 25 3-4 inch boudins so you will probably have extra to freeze.