Mark Miller, chef-owner of the original Coyote Cafe in Santa Fe, two others in Las Vegas and Austin, and Red Sage in Washington, D.C., remembers his first encounter with chorizo: "In the kitchen I found my mother cooking juicy red sausage. Impulsively, I took a piece. When I put it in my mouth, there was an explosion of flavors, then a blast of heat. I was hooked."Plus: More Pork Recipes and Tips
3/4 pound chorizo sausage,crumbled
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 cup finely chopped onion
2 tablespoons finely diced celery
5 serrano chiles, seeded and minced
1 medium garlic clove, minced
3 cups crumbled Blue Corn Bread
2 teaspoons finely chopped thyme
1/2 teaspoon crumbled dried sage
1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro
3 tablespoons half-and-half
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Two 2 1/2 -pound pheasants
4 slices of bacon
How to Make It
In a heavy medium skillet, cook the chorizo over moderately high heat until browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl. Discard the fat.
Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in the skillet. Add the onion, celery, serranos and garlic and cook until slightly softened, about 3 minutes. Toss the vegetables with the chorizo. Mix in the Blue Corn Bread, thyme, sage and cilantro. Stir in the half-and-half and egg. Season with the pepper and mix thoroughly.
Preheat the oven to 400°. In a large heavy skillet, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter in the oil. Add the pheasants and sear over moderately high heat, turning with tongs, until golden all over, about 6 minutes. Transfer to a plate to cool.
Stuff the birds with about half of the stuffing and reserve the rest. Place the pheasants, breast side up, without touching, in a roasting pan and crisscross 2 bacon strips over each bird. Roast until the juices run clear when the thighs are pierced with a small knife, about 45 minutes. Cover loosely with foil and let rest for 20 minutes before carving.
Meanwhile, shape the remaining stuffing into twelve 2-inch round patties. Preheat a cast-iron skillet over moderate heat, add the patties and cook, turning, until lightly browned, 4 to 6 minutes.
Carve the pheasants and serve with the patties and cavity stuffing.
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