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Hay Roasted Pheasant


Spice Rub

1 tablespoon Aleppo pepper

1 tablespoon whole cloves

1 tablespoon juniper berries

1 tablespoon fennel seed

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon


Spice or coffee grinder

Coffee Jus

4 ounces country ham (chopped extra fine)

8 ounces cold-pressed coffee (can substitute 4 ounces brewed coffee)

16 ounces low-sodium chicken stock

1 bay leaf

1 sprig fresh thyme

1 sprig fresh oregano

1 tablespoon butter

Salt and pepper to taste


3 ounces schmaltz (rendered duck or chicken fat)

1 whole pheasant (including neck and giblets) Salt

4 handfuls hay, soaked in clean water for at least 15 minutes (find at pet store or organic farm)


Spice Rub
  1. Place all spices in spice grinder or coffee grinder and grind into fine powder.
Coffee Jus
  1. In a saucepot at medium heat add chopped country ham and slowly render until crispy and fat is released.
  2. Strain off ¾ fat, leaving crisp ham in pot. Deglaze with cold-pressed coffee.
  3. Reduce coffee by ⅔ and add stock. Add bay leaf, thyme, and oregano to pot and slowly simmer until reduced to 1½ cups liquid (approximately half).
  4. Remove sauce from stove and pour through fine-mesh strainer.
  5. Stir in butter. Salt and pepper to taste.
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Remove schmaltz from fridge and let soften to room temperature.
  2. Remove neck and giblets from inside pheasant and set aside.
  3. Salt pheasant liberally inside and out and place on a plate in refrigerator uncovered overnight or at least a few hours.
  4. Remove pheasant from fridge and rub with prepared spice rub. Brush entire bird with rendered schmaltz, evenly coating it on all sides.
  5. Drain soaking hay and place two handfuls in bottom of Dutch oven. Place rubbed pheasant on top of hay and pack other two handfuls of hay around the pheasant. Place in 400-degree oven for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, turn oven down to 300 degrees and continue roasting for approximately 30 minutes.
  6. Check the temperature of the pheasant every 15 minutes. Once pheasant reaches 145 degrees, remove it from the oven. Let rest in hay. The hay has insulating properties and pheasant will continue to cook after it is removed from oven. Let rest for at least 15 minutes.
  7. Remove pheasant from hay and wipe off any remaining hay. Serve with coffee jus.
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