We love bean soup at our house. Recently, while searching for a way to prepare a whole pheasant from MacFarlane Pheasants’ that I had in my freezer, I discovered the Chunky Pheasant and Bean Soup recipe in the free Pheasant Cookbook I downloaded from the pheasant.com website. The soup was such a hit at my house; I couldn’t resist sharing it in our blog!
The first step in my process was to bake the thawed pheasant. I cooked my pheasant at 250 degrees for nearly three hours. But first, I rubbed the pheasant down with olive oil and salt and pepper. I left it uncovered for the first hour and then covered it with tin foil for the last two hours. Every half hour I used the juices in the pan to baste my pheasant.
I used a baking thermometer inserted in to the pheasant’s thickest part to make sure the bird was cooked thoroughly. When it was at 180 degrees, I removed it from the oven and let it sit for about a half-hour to let the juices set and cool it down to break the meat away from the bone.
The recipe from MacFarlane’s Pheasant Cookbook called for dried pinto or borlotti beans, but it also said you could use any dried bean, so I used the standard navy bean that I had soaked overnight. The recipe I used is provided below, and I know you won’t be disappointed. If you like bean soup on a snowy day, you will love Chunky Pheasant and Bean Soup!
Chunky Pheasant and Bean Soup
(Author’s note) An excellent use for leftover pheasant, though you could use any poultry or game bird. I use organic pinto beans, but any dried bean will do. If pushed for time, use drained, canned beans. Serves two to three.
150 g (a little more than 5 ounces) pinto or borlotti beans, soaked overnight
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 sticks celery, finely chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
1 small glass of white wine
Cooked pheasant meat, roughly chopped or shredded (about 200 g) (7 ounces)
500 ml stock (about 17 ounces) (chicken, game or vegetable) and/or cooking juices from the pheasant
1 bay leaf
1 sprig thyme (optional)
Salt and ground black pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil
Drain the beans. Put them in a pan, and cover them with water, bring them to a boil, and then turn down the heat and simmer them until they are tender - around an hour. Drain and set the beans aside.
Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy-based pan. Add the onion, celery, carrot, and garlic, and, cook until soft - 10-12 minutes. Add the wine and simmer the ingredients until they are reduced by about half. Add the cooked beans, the pheasant, the stock and herbs, and then bring the soup to a simmer and cook it for 10-20 minutes, just to help the beans absorb the flavors.
Remove the bay leaf and thyme. You now need partially to blend the soup, so it thickens up but remains nice and chunky. The easiest way to do this is to plunge a stick blender into the pot and give a few blitzes. Alternatively, you could take out a couple of mugfuls of the soup, blend in a processor and return to the pan. Lastly, you could just mash the beans a bit with a potato masher. Season well and serve, piping hot, with a generous slosh of excellent olive oil on top and some bread.