A casserole is a dish that is served from the same dish it has been baked in. Commonly, it contains both meat and vegetables, and is cooked in some liquid. Typically in a pheasant casserole, the pheasant meat is accompanied by root vegetables like carrots, along with herb flavorings and pieces of bacon to add fat and flavor. Generally, a pheasant casserole takes an hour or more to bake.
Pheasants are originally native to the continent of Asia. As the birds proved to be good to eat, they were introduced to Europe and North America, where they now exist both as wild birds and as released stock for hunting purposes. Their flesh is similar in taste and appearance to chicken, although it tends to be drier and less fatty due to the natural flight and eating patterns of the birds.
Cooks can make a variety of dishes from birds, and pheasant casserole is one that involves slow cooking to tenderize the meat. This involves the use of a casserole dish, which is typically a deep dish with a cover that is made from earthenware, glass or ironware. This piece of cooking equipment is designed for use in an oven, and it may also be suitable for use over a direct heat source.
Either an entire cleaned carcass or pieces of the meat can be placed in the casserole, and some recipes call for the meat to be browned in some oil before adding the other ingredients. As the meat is commonly cooked for more than one hour, additional liquid is usually placed in the casserole with the meat. An example of suitable liquids include stock, which can be made from the giblets, or from chickens. White wine or alcoholic cider are other common liquid ingredients.
The vegetables for the casserole can be cooked before adding to the meat. Onions, for example, give a different flavor and texture when fired beforehand, and caramelization of pieces of carrot or parsnip can also alter the resulting flavor. Pieces of fried bacon can also be added to the pot, along with salt, pepper and herbs like parsley for flavor.
Once these types of ingredients are added, the covered pheasant casserole is placed into an oven for an hour or more. A few minutes before the pheasant casserole is due to be removed, more fragile vegetables like mushrooms can also be added. Suitable accompaniments to the casserole include mashed potato, boiled cabbage or other green vegetables.