Roulade of Pheasant (or Chicken) Breast Stuffed with Spinach and Mushroom Duxelles by Alex Hitz

Roulade of Pheasant (or Chicken) Breast Stuffed with Spinach and Mushroom Duxelles

This dish comes straight from the pages of the Patio By The River’s Autumn menu, when pheasant is in season, and it is one of my favorite dishes of all time. Though there are several steps, none is very difficult, and the elegant, full flavors of the stuffing play so beautifully against the succulence of the pheasant, and the earthiness of the mushroom sauce. A confession: If you are not able to procure pheasant, chicken breasts will work just as well, although I think you will appreciate the subtle differences, and will not want to ever make this dish differently once you try the pheasant.

 

 

 

YIELD: 10 servings

 

Ingredients:
10 pheasant (or Chicken) breasts, pounded thin
1½ teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
20 ounces Spinach and Mushroom Duxelles (recipe follows)
3 tablespoons salted butter
3 tablespoons vegetable oil

 

Directions:

  • Pre-heat the oven to 350° F.

  • Season both sides of the pounded breasts with the salt and pepper, equally.

  • Spread 4 tablespoons of the Spinach and Mushroom Duxelles in the middle of each breast, and then roll the breasts.

  • Melt the butter with the oil in a large, heavy skillet. When the foaming has subsided, add the pheasant breasts, and sear them until they are golden brown on both sides, 2 to 3 minutes per side.

  • Place the breasts on a baking sheet and bake them for 10 minutes.

  • Remove them from the oven, let them rest for 1 minute, and then slice on the diagonal.

  • Serve them with Mushroom Sauce (recipes follows).

 

 

Spinach and Mushroom (Duxelles) Stuffing

YIELD: 2 ¾ cups (enough for the previous recipe plus a little extra)

 

 

MASTER LIST OF INGREDIENTS
6 tablespoons salted butter, divided
¾ pound medium mushrooms, minced
1 tablespoon sherry
¾ teaspoon salt, divided
1 ½ teaspoons minced garlic
1 pound spinach
¾ cup bread crumbs
1 slice crisp bacon, chopped very fine
¼ cup chicken stock, plus 1 ½ teaspoons
½ teaspoon sherry
2 tablespoons Parmesan Cheese
3 tablespoons chopped green onions
2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon
1/8 teaspoon chicken stock base
2 eggs, beaten
1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg



For the mushrooms

 

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons salted butter
¾ pound medium mushrooms, minced
1 tablespoon sherry
¼ teaspoon salt

 

Directions:

  • Melt the butter in a heavy skillet over medium heat. When the foaming has subsided, add the mushrooms and sherry. Turn the heat to medium-low and cook until all of the liquid has been released from the mushrooms and evaporated. This should take 20 to 25 minutes. It’s important to get all the liquid out so that the mixture will not be runny.

  • Turn off the heat, reserve the mushrooms, and let them cool.

 

 

 

For the Spinach

 

Ingredients:
3 tablespoons salted butter
1 ½ teaspoons minced garlic
1 pound spinach
¼ teaspoon salt

 

Directions:

  • Melt the butter in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. When the foaming has subsided, add the garlic, spinach, and salt, and sauté until the spinach is limp, 5 to 7 minutes. Drain the spinach in a colander and reserve it.

  • When the spinach has cooled, squeeze the excess liquid out by hand so that that no liquid remains. Again, this step is very important because you don’t want to have a runny stuffing. In a food processor fitted with a metal blade, puree the spinach.

 

¾ cup breadcrumbs
1 slice crisp bacon, chopped very fine
¼ cup chicken stock, plus 1½ teaspoons chicken stock
½ teaspoon sherry
2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons chopped green onions
2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon
1/8 teaspoon chicken stock base
¼ teaspoon salt
2 eggs, beaten
1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

 

  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the mushrooms, pureed spinach, and all other ingredients.

 

 

Mushroom Sauce

YIELD: 12 servings, about 4 cups

 

Ingredients:
5 tablespoons salted butter
3 tablespoons minced shallots
1½ pounds medium fresh mushrooms, divided, half of them minced, the other half of them quartered
1 tablespoon dried tarragon
½ cup plus ½ teaspoon medium dry sherry, divided
2¼ cups rich chicken stock
2 cups heavy cream
¾ teaspoon plus 1/8 teaspoon salt, divided
1¼ teaspoons organic chicken base
½ teaspoon lemon juice
¼ teaspoon ground white pepper

 

Directions:

  • In a large skillet over a medium heat, melt 3 tablespoons of butter and, when the foaming has subsided, add the shallots and sauté them until they are translucent, approximately 2 to 3 minutes.

  • Add the minced mushrooms, tarragon, and ½ cup of the sherry to the shallots, and cook this mixture slowly until all liquid has evaporated, approximately 30 minutes. Add the chicken stock and increase the heat to high, bringing it to a boil. Let it boil for 10 minutes and then reduce the heat to a simmer and stir in the heavy cream, ¾ teaspoon of the salt, the chicken base, lemon juice, ½ teaspoon of sherry, and white pepper.

  • Turn off the heat. In a heavy medium skillet over medium heat, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and, when the foaming subsides, add the ¾ pounds quartered mushrooms and sauté them until they are brown. Add 1/8 teaspoon salt to the mushrooms, stir well, and then add them to the sauce.

  • Let the sauce cool, cover it, and let it refrigerate overnight. Reheat it and serve.