Wild Recipes

Pheasant Étouffée

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Cajun food is famous for its big, bold flavors and this Pheasant Étouffée is a perfect way to celebrate Mardi Gras at home with friends and family.

I used pheasant legs and thighs for this recipe to encourage more upland bird hunters to save them, slow cook them, and transform them into the shining main ingredient for this popular Cajun dish served with smoked andouille sausage over rice. Because the pheasant legs and thighs take time to braise and turn tender, I like to prepare this recipe on a lazy Sunday afternoon. Cajun rice dishes like this, as well as my Duck Étouffée, always taste better the next day making them perfect so serve for family dinner during the busy week ahead.

The biggest difference between an étouffée and gumbo is in the consistency. While both dishes use a broth base like the chicken broth I use for this recipe, étouffée has a thicker consistency like a gravy. A gumbo is thinner and more like a soup or stew.

Servings: 6
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 2 1/2 hours
Resting time: 10 minutes

Looking for more pheasant recipes? Try out this Pheasant Lasagna alla Vodka!

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Pheasant Étouffée

Recipe by Jeff Benda
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Course: Wild Recipes


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  • Pheasant legs and thighs from 4 birds

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • /2 teaspoon black pepper

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • /2 cup all-purpose flour

  • /2 cup butter (1 stick)

  • 1 large yellow onion, diced

  • green bell pepper, diced

  • celery stalks, diced

  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic

  • 3 cups chicken broth

  • 2 teaspoons Harvesting Nature Upland Fowl Blend

  • bay leaves

  • /4 pound andouille smoked sausage, sliced into 1/2-inch pieces

  • 2 teaspoons Gumbo file powder

  • /4 cup green onions, chopped

  • Cooked white rice, for serving

  • /2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)


  • Season the pheasant legs and thighs all over with the kosher salt and black pepper and place them in a large Dutch oven with the olive oil over medium-high heat and fry for about 5 minutes, turning often, until golden brown on all sides.
  • Add enough water to the Dutch oven to completely cover the pheasant legs and thighs.
  • Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for about hours until the pheasant meat is falling off the bones.
  • Transfer the pheasant legs and thighs to a cutting board or bowl and let cool enough to easily handle. Using your hands, shred the meat off the bones, and discard the bones and water. Place the shredded pheasant meat in the refrigerator until ready to use later.
  • Wipe out the Dutch oven with a paper towel so it’s dry, then add the flour and butter over medium heat and whisk slowly and constantly for 10 minutes to make a blonde-colored roux.
  • Add the onion, bell pepper, and celery and continue to stir occasionally for about 5 minutes until the vegetables are softened.
  • Add the minced garlic and sauté for another 2 minutes.
  • Stir in the chicken broth, Harvesting Nature seasoning and bay leaves and bring to a boil, then immediately reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally for about 10 minutes.
  • Turn off the heat, add the sausage, shredded pheasant, and gumbo file powder and stir well to combine. Cover and allow to sit for 10 minutes prior to serving.
  • Serve over cooked white rice and garnish with chopped green onions and a sprinkle of cayenne pepper if so desired.

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Jeff Benda

Cooking gives me a creative outlet to transform wild game and bring it into traditional recipes from around the world to help expand people's perceptions. My goal is to celebrate local fish and wild game and provide achievable, bright recipes designed to build confidence for new cooks, and inspire everyone to elevate their cooking. I hope that by sharing and celebrating the food I create with the fish and wild game I harvest, I can highlight the great contribution so many hunters and anglers have made to conservation in this country, and reflect the freedom we have to enjoy America's great outdoors.

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