Warm up this hunting season with an upland spin on a delicious fan favorite
Story and photo by Lukas Leaf
There’s nothing better than a bowl of rich, creamy, thick, stick-to-your-bones soup. This pheasant wild rice soup does the trick at hunting camp (make-ahead and heat up), on the porch on a cool fall evening, or in front of the fire on a cold winter’s night. Wild rice soup just shouts Comfort Food.
For this recipe, you’ll make the stock and cook the pheasant to pull apart tender in the same pot, which saves time and maximizes the amount of meat you’re removing from the bird for the soup, particularly from the carcass, thighs and legs. This is also a great place to use those breasts that get peppered by shot.
RECIPE: Pheasant Wild Rice Soup
Prep Time: 3-4 hours
Cook Time: 30 minutes
- 3 cups packed, pulled pheasant meat
- 3 cups packed, cooked wild rice
- 2 cups pheasant stock
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 cup carrot, diced
- 1 cup celery, diced
- 1 cup yellow onion, diced
- 1 cup dry porcini mushrooms, reconstituted and chopped (optional)
- ½ cup fresh Italian parsley, chopped
- 1 stick of unsalted butter
- 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme, finely chopped
- 2-3 bay leaves
- Cracked black pepper
- Kosher salt
- In a large stock pot, add the pheasant wings, legs, thighs, breasts, and carcass — roughly two birds. Add classic stock aromatics such as carrot, celery, onion, garlic, bay leaf, peppercorn and herbs (separate from your soup ingredients). Cover with cold water and lightly season with salt. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook until the pheasant is tender — about three hours.
- Cook the wild rice until tender. Start with cold water, season with salt, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cover to finish. Leave a little water.
- In a Dutch oven or large pot over medium heat, add the carrot, onion, celery, garlic, a few bay leaves, thyme, and rosemary. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Cook the vegetables until the onion is translucent. About 3 minutes. Now add the remaining butter and flour. Stir until everything is coated and cook until the flour turns golden brown — about 3 minutes more.
- Stir in the stock and mushrooms and bring to a simmer. Stir in the whole milk, season and return to a simmer. Add the pulled pheasant, cooked wild rice and heavy cream. Return to a simmer, reduce the heat to low and cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. To finish, mix in the lemon juice and parsley. Check for seasoning.
- Serve with crushed crackers or a crusty bread. Add a dollop of sour cream if you like. A grilled cheese sandwich makes for great dipping.
- If you prefer a thinner soup, add a cup or two more of liquid.
- Cooking the wild rice and pheasant a day ahead makes putting this soup together a breeze.
Lukas Leaf is the lead chef at Modern Carnivore, and a wild foods contributor to MeatEater.
This story originally appeared in the Fall 2022 issue of Pheasants Forever Journal. If you enjoyed it and would like to see more delicious pheasant recipes in the pages of the Pheasants Forever Journal, become a Pheasants Forever member today!