Welcome to Thanksgiving 2020…the year where small gatherings = small birds. As such, instead of turkey this year, we opted to cook a pheasant! In the end, the 3.25 lb bird wound up feeding four with leftovers, so we’re definitely glad we didn’t roast a turkey!
Instead of roasting our pheasant whole, we Spatchcocked it so that it would lay flat and cook quickly and evenly. We also continued on with our (somewhat grotesque) tradition of placing fresh herbs or spices under the skin…this year with rosemary (after using garlic and sage in the past).
We served our bird with Cauliflower Chestnut Stuffing, a new spin off of Mom’s Rutabaga and Carrot Mash called “Root Vegetable Mash Extravaganza,” corn fritters and green beans with sliced almonds that my mother-in-law made, and an Olver tradition called “Butt Crack Rolls,” which are a lot like Homemade Dinner Rolls but with a slightly different shape…we’ll let you use your imagination for that.
Time: 75 Minutes (give or take depending on the size of your pheasant)
- A Pheasant
- 4 Fresh Rosemary Sprigs
- 1 Tablespoon of Butter
- Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F, and line a big baking pan (one with tall edges) with foil.
- Spatchcock your Pheasant. For a quick tutorial, check out our “How to Spatchcock a Bird” post.
- Sprinkle a little salt and pepper on the underside of your bird, and then place it into your baking pan.
- Work your fingers under the skin around the breast meat and legs/thighs. Then, place four sprigs of rosemary under the skin…one over each cut of meat.
- Melt your butter, and brush it all over the pheasant skin. Then, sprinkle a little more salt and pepper atop your butter.
- Stash in the oven for about an hour (depending on bird size). When your meat (breast and thigh both) reach an internal cooked temperature of 165 degrees F as measured by a digital meat thermometer, and your skin is crispy and golden brown, you are ready to go!
- Pull your bird from the oven, and transfer it to a large cutting board. Let sit for 5-10 minutes.
- Carve your pheasant, plate, devour, and enjoy!