Pheasant Soup with Egg Noodles Recipe

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A bowl of homemade Pheasant Noodle Soup makes a hearty meal.
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Cover of the book "Pheasant, Quail, Cottontail."
6-8 servings SERVINGS



    • 2 pheasants, breast meat removed
    • Oil, to coat the carcasses
    • Salt
    • 2 stalks celery, chopped
    • 2 carrots, peeled and sliced into discs
    • 1 clove garlic, mashed
    • 1 sprig rosemary
    • 3 bay leaves
    • 2 star anise pods, optional
    • 4 leek greens, chopped, or 1 onion, chopped (reserve the white parts of the leeks for the soup)


    • 3 tablespoons butter
    • Reserved white parts from the leeks, chopped, or 1 onion, chopped
    • 2 stalks celery, chopped
    • 2 carrots, peeled and sliced into discs
    • 1⁄2 to 1 cup white vermouth or white wine
    • 1 bay leaf
    • 1 pound egg noodles, orzo, or other soup pasta
    • Salt and black pepper, to taste
    • 1⁄4 cup chopped parsley


    • To Make Broth:

      Coat the pheasants with some oil, and salt them well. Put them in a roasting pan, and roast in the oven at 400 F for about 1 hour. Transfer the pheasants to a stockpot, and just barely cover with water. Set heat to medium-high. Pour some water into the roasting pan, and let it sit for a few minutes to loosen things up. Scrape any browned bits off the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon, and pour that into the stockpot. As soon as the broth begins to simmer, reduce the heat to low, and let it cook gently for 2 hours. Fish out the pheasants and pick off all the meat from the legs, thighs, wings, and carcass. Set the meat aside, and return the bones to the stockpot. Add celery, carrots, garlic, rosemary, bay leaves, and star anise, if using. Separate the light from dark parts of the leeks. Add the dark green leek parts to the broth, saving the white and light green parts for the soup. If you’re using onions, add 1 chopped onion now. Let the broth cook for another 90 minutes.

      To Make Soup:

      When you’re ready to make the soup, you can do one of two things: You can simply set up a fine mesh strainer over the pot you’re going to make the soup in, or you can properly strain your stock and use that. To properly strain the stock, put a paper towel in the strainer and set that over a big bowl or other large container. Ladle the stock from the stockpot through the strainer setup into the big bowl. This will give you a nicer, clearer broth. To finish the soup, heat the butter in a Dutch oven or other soup pot set over medium heat. Add reserved white parts of the leeks (or the other onion), celery, and carrots, and sauté until soft and translucent, but not browned, about 5 to 8 minutes. Add vermouth, and boil for 1 to 2 minutes. Add bay leaf and 4 to 8 cups of the stock you just made, and simmer gently. To cook the noodles, you can do one of two things: You can just drop them into your soup, which is fine but it will make the broth cloudy, or you can boil your noodles in some salted water and add them later. I boil mine separately because I like clear broth. While the noodles are cooking, return the pheasant meat to the soup. Add salt and pepper, to taste. When the noodles are ready, add the parsley, and serve.

      More from Pheasant, Quail, Cottontail:

      Cooking Wild Game BirdsButtermilk Fried RabbitBuffalo-Style Turkey Mac and Cheese
      Excerpted with permission from Pheasant, Quail, Cottontail by Hank Shaw, photography by Holly A. Heyser, and published by H&H Books.

    Pheasant soup is satisfying to body and soul, a tonic for your down days or those days when the icy chill of the world has cut a bit too deep. My recipe is hardwired in me, a soup I’ve enjoyed virtually unchanged since I can remember. I make it without conscious thought. Roast the carcasses of the pheasants with a little oil and salt. Make a broth from them. Pick off the meat, strain the broth, and add new vegetables, a little wine, and the obligatory egg noodles. In my world, chicken noodle soup always has egg noodles. I’ve eaten it this way for more than 40 years, and I’m not about to change now. You might prefer rice, or orzo, or something else — and that’s OK by me.

    Next time you have a shot-up pheasant, grouse, or rabbit, make this soup. Make it for yourself. Make it for your children. Watch them wrap their hands around the bowl and inhale the gift you’ve given them. Watch them eat one bowl, then another, then another. Watch them file away this moment forever. Watch them smile.

    Once made, the broth will keep up to a week in the refrigerator. If you want to have leftover soup ready to go, undercook the noodles so they’re al dente when you first eat the soup. They’ll absorb more broth in the fridge and still be nice a few days later.