Marinated Pheasant With Pecan Pesto Vinaigrette


Let’s say you found a pheasant in the back of your freezer and it’s a year old or more. One of the best ways to help out a tired, old frozen bird is with a good marinade. Marinades will add flavor to meats that are long past fresh. Don’t use marinades to cover up foods that either look bad or smell bad. There’s a reason they got that way and they should be disposed of. I like to serve this with rice.



  • 2 pheasants, quartered
  • Marinade
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 lemons, juice only
  • 1/2 cup onion, sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
Pecan Pesto Vinaigrette
  • 1/2 cup pecan pieces, roasted in a 325-degree oven until slightly browned
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1 lemon, juice only
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup white wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Combine marinade ingredients. Place pheasant pieces in a ceramic, plastic or glass dish and pour marinade over. Cover and refrigerate, turning occasionally. Marinate for 6 – 12 hours. To cook, remove leg/thigh sections and place in a well-oiled baking dish. Pour marinade over. Cover with foil and bake in a 375-degree oven for 1 hour. Add breast pieces, cover and bake for 20 minutes more or until pheasant breast pieces are just cooked. To serve, arrange pheasant pieces on plates and drizzle vinaigrette over.
  2. In a food processor or blender, process pecan pieces, garlic, basil, lemon and a few tablespoons of the olive oil until it forms a paste. Add parmesan cheese and vinegar. Pulse to blend. While motor is running, add remaining oil in a thin stream until emulsified. Season with salt and pepper.


Recipe courtesy of the Sporting Chef, Scott Leysath. Click to order The Sporting Chef’s Better Venison Cookbook

Leave a Reply

Commenting Policy - We encourage open expression of your thoughts and ideas. But there are a few rules:

No abusive comments, threats, or personal attacks. Use clean language. No discussion of illegal activity. Racist, sexist, homophobic, and generally hateful comments are not tolerated. Keep comments on topic. Please don't spam.

While we reserve the right to remove or modify comments at our sole discretion, the Sportsman's Guide does not bear any responsibility for user comments. The views expressed within the comment section do not necessarily reflect or represent the views of The Sportsman's Guide.