Smoked Pheasant Cheese Ball

Brad Fenson

Pheasants are one of the premier upland game birds of North America. Although it is an introduced species, it has adapted to a variety of habitats and climates. The breast meat is white, and the thighs are light-colored, as well. If you run out of pheasant or could not put enough in the freezer, check out GameKeeper Butchery and purchase some professionally processed birds to cook.

Pheasant smokes quickly, and it generates a flavorful, moist product when done. Hi Mountain Game Bird Brine is easy to use and can prepare a colorful ringneck for the smoker. This recipe can be made with roasted or smoked pheasant.

Get creative and alter the types of nuts or cheese used in the recipe. A jalapeño or more cayenne pepper can spice up a cheese ball nicely.

Ingredients

1 ½ cups smoked pheasant meat
¾ cup almonds
6 large pitted green olives
1 Tbsp whole grain mustard
1 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
½ cup sliced almonds, toasted
½ tsp smoked paprika
¼ tsp cayenne pepper

Directions

1. Remove the meat from the smoked pheasant, taking extra care to remove the sinew and tendons from the leg meat especially. An average bird should yield about 2 cups of meat. Roughly chop the meat into smaller pieces.
2. Add the pheasant, almonds, olives, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and cheddar cheese to a heavy-duty food processor. If using smoked paprika and cayenne, add here. Pulse until the mixture is evenly and finely chopped.
3. Add the softened cream cheese in chunks. Process until well combined. The mixture will be stiff, so using room temperature cream cheese will help prevent the food processor from working too hard. 
4. Place a piece of plastic wrap on a work surface and scrape the pheasant mixture out of the food processor bowl onto the plastic wrap. Using your hands and the plastic wrap, form the mixture into a ball shape. 
5. Spread the toasted almonds on a cutting board or plate and roll the cheese ball into the almonds, pressing down slightly to ensure the coating adheres. 
6. Wrap the cheese ball in plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve. 

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