Pheasant Au Vin

Pheasant Au Vin
★★★½   12 votes

Pheasant is marinated in port wine, cloves, bay leaf, and onions for two to three days to give it an exquisite flavor and added moisture before it is browned in the pan and baked in a casserole dish with the sauce to make this sumptuous dish. Adapted from “Wild Game and Country Cooking” by Timothy Manion, Pheasant Au Vin is a great way to cook the wild bird and give it a gourmet treatment.

“Au vin” is French cooking technique of “cooking in wine.” It is typically prepared with chicken but also works well with most game birds like partridge, quail, and pheasant. In this recipe, the pheasant should be cleaned, singed and cut into pieces before marinating. Pheasant is very lean meat with a relatively subtle gamey flavor. When cooked slowly in casserole dish in a flavorful liquid, the meat becomes tender and moist.

Typically, wild pheasant is hung with the feathers still on for a few days to improve the texture and flavor of the bird.

In this recipe, the meat is marinated for two days so it really absorbs the wine and spices. This helps keep the lean meat juicy even after backing in the oven. The wild taste of the pheasant is tempered with the flavor of the wine, onions, and spices. The marinade improves the flavor, aroma and texture of the wild bird.

To seal in the flavor of the meat, it is dredged first in flour (after marinating) then browned in a skillet. This gives the pheasant a nice color and texture. Pheasants are wild game and therefore have led a more active lifestyle than commercial or farm-raised poultry. Their muscles, especially in the leg area can be quite tough and sinewy. Marinating the meat for a few days helps break down connective tissues and collagen, which make the meat tough and dry.


10-15 min

2 hrs.

Difficulty Level



  • 2 whole pheasant, cleaned and singed, and cut into pieces

  • 4 cups port wine

  • 6 whole cloves

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 1 onion, sliced thin

  • 2 cups all purpose flour

  • Sea salt

  • Freshly ground pepper

  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter

Preparation Instructions


1In a baking dish, stir together the wine, cloves, onion, bay leaf, and sage. Add the pheasant pieces and marinate in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days. 2Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.


Drain the pheasant pieces, reserving the marinade. Pat the birds dry. 3In a clean baking dish, combine the flour, salt, and pepper.


Dredge the pheasant pieces and shake to remove excess flour. 4Put a tablespoon of butter in a large skillet placed over medium high heat. Once the butter melts, add pheasant pieces and brown on every side.


5Place the browned pheasant in a casserole dish. Pour the reserved marinade over the birds and bake for 1 ½ hours or until desired doneness is reached.