I had an unexpectedly quiet weekend, which was awesome, and for me meant roasting everything in sight and playing at one of the last farmers markets of the season. I happened to have a pheasant taking up space in the freezer, so this recipe is my little ode to a beautiful fall day.

Give yourself a little time on this one (like all day Sunday) if you’re starting from square one and actually roasting your pheasant. You could also brine the bird overnight, but I didn’t.

1 whole pheasant
1 apple
1 onion
Handful of herbs – your choice, fresh is best
2-3 tbsp. olive oil
Salt & pepper
1 acorn squash
2 pints mushrooms – your choice
2 tbsp. butter
1 Molly’s Gluten Free Bakery flatbread
3 tbsp. pesto
4 oz. LaClare Farms cheddar goat cheese

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First things first, preheat your oven to 500 degrees, then chop up an onion and an apple into big chunks, and grab some of those end of season herbs (that I can never keep alive inside over the winter, so I might as well use up) – I used sage and rosemary. Stuff that bird and if you have too much filling, just put the pieces around it. Drizzle olive oil over it and rub in to all of the crevasses and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

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Roast for 15 minutes at this hot temperature, the take out of the oven and reduce the heat to 350 degrees – you can leave the door open to cool it down, which is so great on a cool fall day! Cut your acorn squash in half and remove the seeds while the oven is cooling. Put your pheasant back in and have the squash join it for about 45 minutes at the lower temperature, and let it sit for at least 15 minutes when you take it out of the oven. (The squash might need an additional 15-20 minutes after the pheasant is done – just poke it with a fork to see if it’s soft).

Remove the meat from the pheasant and set aside to use. Throw the bones, apples and onions in a pot and make broth. Seriously, fill it up with water and boil for a couple hours. It’s so flavorful!

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Heat butter in a pan over medium high heat. Chop up mushrooms and add to pan. Saut̩ until soft Рabout 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

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Heat the oven back up to 450 degrees. Put your flatbread on a baking stone and spread the pesto over it out to edges. Top with pieces of pheasant, chunks of squash, and sautéed mushrooms. Shred the cheese over the top and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

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Bake for 8 minutes. You are going to love this. Enjoy hot out of the oven!

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