This hot pheasant cheese dip recipe is inspired by a buffalo chicken dip my friends, Brit and Adam, bring to foxhunting parties. I belong to a mounted-foxhunting club, but outside of our time together out in the field, we love to get together and party for just about anything: football, birthdays, holidays, graduations, presidential elections, you name it.
Brit and Adam’s buffalo chicken dip is definitely a favorite. It’s hot, creamy and the spicy kick makes it so addictive. So while I was trying to think of a wild game recipe, I remembered that I had a bunch of pheasant legs in the freezer.
When Rick and I go pheasant hunting, we never throw out the legs. We save them in a separate bag to use for later. The thighs have plenty of meat on them and while the legs have many bones, they can still be utilized. They’re great for making stock. And they’re tasty in soups, slow cooked or even as an excellent stand-in for chicken in many recipes. Knowing that we’ll use them, many of our hunter friends give us their pheasant legs, and we gladly take them.
So if you’ve eaten all your pheasant breasts and have a bag of legs still sitting in the freezer, try this hot pheasant cheese dip. Your guests will gobble it all up.
Serves: 6-8 appetizers
Prep time: 4 hours
Cook time: 30 minutes
- 8 pheasant thighs and legs, skinned
- 1 quart of chicken broth
- 1 package of cream cheese, softened
- ½ cup of ranch dressing
- ½ cup of buffalo or red hot sauce or to taste
- 4 scallions, white and light green parts chopped (optional)
- ½ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese, plus extra
- Chopped chives for garnish
- Your favorite chips or crackers
1. Place pheasant legs in a slow cooker and submerge with chicken broth. Cook on high for about 3 to 4 hours or until meat is tender; do not overcook meat until mushy. Once cooked, remove pheasant legs and discard cooking liquids. Gently wash off any impurities/foam that may be coating the meat and then drain. When cool enough to handle, remove meat from bones and shred. Discard any chewy sinew/silver skin that did not break down. Look for shot. You should end up with about 2 cups of meat.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium or large bowl, gently whip softened cream cheese. Then add shredded pheasant meat, ranch dressing, hot sauce, and sharp cheddar cheese. Add more ranch dressing if mixture is too dry.
3. If desired, mix in chopped scallions or your favorite herbs.
4. Spray or grease a small baking dish. Pour dip mixture into the dish and sprinkle with more sharp cheddar cheese on top. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 25-30 minutes, or until dip is heated through and cheese on top is melted. (OR heat dip in a slow cooker.) Garnish with chives. Serve dip with your favorite chips and crackers.