Try a bird of a different feather
Story By Bailey Gilliam
While many people love seeing birds in the wild, even more love seeing them on their dinner plates. For our “Birdie Issue,” we asked local chefs and restaurants for their favorite bird recipes, and they didn’t disappoint.
Elevate your April meals with these sophisticated chicken and pheasant recipes.
This isn’t your average chicken recipe. And no one does chicken better than Charlie’s Coastal Bistro. Chef Josh Castillo shares his Lowcountry twist on this French classic.
Charlie’s Coastal Bistro – Chicken Coq Au Vin
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
7 ounces pancetta, small dice
2 large carrots
1/2 stock celery, large batons
1 medium onion, medium diced
6 chicken thighs
1/4 ounce fresh thyme sprigs
10 large mushrooms, cut in half
2 cups red wine
4 fresh garlic cloves, sliced
4 cups chicken stock
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons cornstarch, mixed with water
3 tablespoons water
 Heat oven to 350 degrees. Start with a Dutch oven over medium heat with extra virgin olive oil. Cook pancetta until golden brown, 8-12 minutes. Once cooked, pull out of the pot and set aside.  Now salt and pepper the chicken thighs and start to sear them skin side down. Cook for 5-8 minutes on each side.  Set chicken to the side. Take out 1/3 of the oil in the pot and add vegetables, along with herbs. Saute until vegetables start to brown and tenderize, about 6-10 minutes.  Add wine and deglaze the pot. Cook for 2 minutes and add chicken stock and chicken. Bring to a boil and cover the pot. Place in oven for 45-60 minutes.  Using tongs, remove chicken from the pot. Place pot back on stove and bring back to a boil over medium-high heat.  Add cornstarch slurry and simmer for 8-10 minutes or until the mixture has thickened. Finally, add chicken back to pot to warm and serve.
Word on the bird
Chicken is by far the most consumed bird in the world, with an estimated 98.5 million tons of chicken meat produced each year. This is due to the fact that chicken is a relatively inexpensive and versatile source of protein and is commonly consumed in many parts of the world.
The innovative culinary team at Michael Anthony’s prides itself on sourcing the freshest local products and the finest imported ingredients. Try its “Petto di Faggiano alla Toscana” recipe for a fantastic wild game dish with an Italian flare.
Michael Anthony’s Cucina Italiana – Tuscan-style pheasant breast
1⁄4 cup grapeseed oil
4 pheasant breasts with skin attached
Flour for dusting
Salt and pepper, to taste
1⁄4 cup pancetta, cut into thin strips
2 teaspoons garlic, minced
2 cups fresh porcini mushrooms, sliced
1⁄2 cup dry white wine
1⁄2 cup kalamata or gaeta olives
3 ounces dried porcini mushrooms, reconstituted in 1⁄4 warm water, then diced
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced
1 cups veal or beef stock
1 cup chicken broth
 Heat oven to 400 degrees. In a large sauté pan, heat the grapeseed oil over high heat.  Lightly dust the pheasant breast with flour, shaking off any excess. Add the breast to the pan, skin side down, and season with salt and pepper. Sauté 1-2 minutes, then turn over, add the pancetta and sauté until the pancetta and breast are golden brown.  Add the minced garlic and fresh porcini mushrooms. Let the garlic brown and then deglaze the pan with white wine.  Add the olives, dried porcini and rosemary.  Cover with the stocks and place in the oven for 10 minutes.  Remove from oven and transfer the breasts to four plates.  Return the sauté pan to the stove and reduce until slightly thick. Spoon sauce on top of breasts and serve.
That’s a wrap
Many people are scared to cook game birds at home, but we have the best source for pheasant cooking. Executive chef Shon Kendrick of Montage Palmetto Bluff shares the easiest way to make delicious pheasant.
Montage Palmetto Bluff – Bacon-wrapped pheasant with caramelized apricots
4 pheasant breasts
12 plump dried apricots
8-12 slices of bacon
1 sprig of thyme
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup oil, for frying
 Cut each pheasant breast in half across the middle lengthwise to have eight thin breasts. Cut the apricots across in the same way.  Lay out a slice of bacon and place on it a sprig of thyme. Place a piece of pheasant breast across the bacon slice and lay three pieces of apricot on the breast.  Season with salt and pepper, then wrap the bacon tightly around the pheasant to make a parcel. If more bacon is needed, use another piece; it must contain the apricots. Repeat with the remaining bacon, pheasant and apricot.  In a frying pan, heat oil over high heat so that it is sizzling hot. Add the pheasant parcels and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side until the bacon is crispy and golden, the apricot is caramelized and the pheasant is just cooked. The heat from the pan will seal the bacon around the meat.
Word on the bird
Pheasant is a lean and flavorful meat that is high in protein and low in fat. It is commonly used in European cuisine, particularly in the U.K., where it is often served roasted with a variety of seasonal vegetables and sauces. It is used in stews, pies, and other dishes. In the United States, pheasant meat is less common but is still consumed by hunters and in some restaurants. It is often served as a game bird alternative to chicken or turkey.