Filson Food: Pheasant Saltimbocca

finished dish in cast iron skillets two pieces of meat in broth

Connor Gabbott spent the first 20 years of his career in various restaurant kitchens across British Columbia. Since picking up a rifle and harvesting his first deer in 2010, Connor has set out to combine his love for food and wild places by sharing the stories of his adventures and how they provide meals for the table.

We had Connor tell us about a few of his favorite recipes that we can take into our own kitchens at home. This is the second of a three part series.

Pheasants are not native to North America, they were brought here from Asia by hunters and now can be found in pockets around the country. Pheasant hunting is without a doubt one of the best ways to introduce someone to the sport of hunting. The initial investment in time and money is low and the reward is high with lots of excitement during a flush. Hunting over dogs will also give you a unique insight into why our ancestors befriended and bred wolves, the ancestors of our modern day dogs, to become their best friends and hunting partners. There is nothing as rewarding as watching a dog do what it was bred to do.

Like the act of pheasant hunting itself, pheasant meat is also very approachable to non-game eaters and a great way to introduce them to wild game.

Serving Suggestions: Crusty grilled bread or crispy potatoes and an arugula salad.

Prep Time: 5 Minutes
Makes: 2 servings


  • 2 Pheasant breasts, skinless and tender removed
  • 2 slicesProsciutto
  • 10 leaves Sage: 6 whole and 4 chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons Oil, grapeseed
  • 2 Shallots, finely diced
  • 3/4 cup White wine
  • 1/2 cup Butter, 1/2” diced
  • 1/2 Lemon, juiced
flattening meat

1. On a cutting board, lay out a sheet of cling film and place one pheasant breast in the middle of the sheet.

2. Lay another sheet overtop of the pheasant breast. Leave lots of excess cling film around the breast for it to expand.

3. Pound the pheasant breast using something hard and flat such as a meat mallet or the back of an axe if its close at hand.

4.Once the breast is an even 3/8” thick, peel back the top layer of cling film and lay down 3 sage leaves followed by one piece of prosciutto over the breast.

5. Lay the cling film back over top of the breast and gently tap it again with your flattening tool to make sure the prosciutto sticks to the breast.

Adding procuto to flattened meat
flattening meat with blunt end of axe

6. Repeat with the second breast.

7. Place a large pan over medium high heat and add the oil.

8. When the oil starts to smoke, add both breast to the pan with the prosciutto side down and sauté for 2 minutes or until the prosciutto is dark golden brown and very crispy. The breast will still be 25% raw on top.

cooking breasts with prosciutto in red cast iron skillet
cooking breasts in red cast iron skillet

9. Remove the breasts from the pan and set aside

10. Move the pan to medium low heat and add the shallots to the pan. Sweat until translucent, approximately 1-2 minutes.

11. Deglaze the pan with the wine and reduce until 2-3 fl oz of liquid remain.

12. Pull the pan off the heat and allow to cool slightly until the liquid is very warm to the touch but not hot.

13. Place the pan back on low heat and drop in a couple pieces of butter and begin to swirl the pan. Ensure the heat is very low, too hot and the butter will split. The butter will slowly emulsify into to the sauce as you swirl.

adding wine to skillet with garlic
adding butter to garlic and wine in cast iron skillet

14. As the butter melts, continue to add a couple more pieces until all the butter has been incorporated.

15. Return the pheasant breasts to the pan with the raw side down and slowly warm the pan. Do not simmer the sauce as it will likely split the sauce.

Finishing chicken breasts in cast iron skillet with white sauce

16. Once the sauce is hot again add the lemon juice and the chopped sage and swirl together.

17. Check the doneness on the pheasant breast. It should be cooked at this time.

squeezing lemon juice over chicken breast dish

Saltimbocca is best eaten out of the pan family style. Use the crusty bread or the crispy potatoes to soak up all the extra butter sauce.