A medium-size game bird, originally from Asia but now found in Europe and North America. As with many birds, the male has a more brilliant plumage than the female and is larger, weighing 2½ to 5 pounds compared to the female's 3-pound average. The female's flesh is plumper, juicier and more tender. Very young cocks and hens may be roasted as is but older pheasants should be barded or cooked with moist heat because their flesh is lean and dry. Farm-raised pheasants do not have the same flavor as the wild birds. Pheasants are sometimes found dressed and frozen in specialty meat markets, usually by special order.
From The Food Lover's Companion, Fourth edition by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst. Copyright © 2007, 2001, 1995, 1990 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.