pheasant piccata recipe

Chicken or Pheasant Piccata

Piccata is a very easy dish to make, except for one point: To make the sauce properly, it must be finished with sweet (unsalted) butter off the heat. Skip this and the sauce will break. Have everything ready to go before you start cooking because this dish comes together quickly. Chicken and veal cutlets are classic here, but I use pounded pheasant breasts. Slices of a turkey breast would be good here, too, as would a cutlet made from wild boar or bear loin. You could also do it with grouse or partridge breasts.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Serves 4 people
Author Hank Shaw


  • 4 to 8 pheasant, chicken, partridge or grouse breasts, skinless and boneless
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, divided
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons small capers
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley


  1. Put each breast between two sheets of plastic wrap and pound them flat with a rubber mallet, empty wine bottle or meat mallet. You want them about 1/4 inch thin if you can. Better to err on being too thick than thin. Salt and pepper the cutlets well and dust with the flour. White flour is traditional here, but I like to pair darker flours with game, so I use whole wheat, rye or spelt flour.
  2. Get the oil and 2 tablespoons of butter hot over medium high heat, and saute to the floured breasts for 3 minutes on one side, 2 minutes on the other. You may need to do this in batches. Move to a plate and tent with foil.
  3. Pour in the lemon juice and white wine and scrape any brown bits off the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Add the capers and boil this down by half over high heat, maybe 2 minutes. Turn off the heat and put the pheasant breasts on serving plates. Put the remaining butter in the saute pan and swirl it around until it melts. The sauce should be emulsified and smooth. Pour over the pheasant and garnish with the parsley.

Serve with mashed potatoes or good bread. An austere white wine, like a Chenin blanc or a Pinot Grigio, would be typical, but I ate most of my piccata with ginger ale. Of course, I was 10 years old at the time...