Spice up your upland bird arsenal with this buffalo pheasant tater tot recipe. If you’re interested in additional details or potential substitutions, scroll past the recipe for more.
Buffalo pheasant tater tot recipe
- 1 cup Cooked pheasant, cubed or shredded
- 1/2 bag of Frozen tater tots
- 6 ounces Whipped cream cheese
- 4 ounces Ranch dressing
- 1/4 cup Hot sauce
- 2 tablespoons Butter
- 1/4 cup Shredded cheddar cheese
- 1/8 cup Blue cheese crumbles
- 1 Scallion, chopped
Step 1: After cooking pheasant, place tater tots on a sheet pan and bake according to the instructions on the package.
Step 2: Place sauce pan or saucier on stove top over medium-low heat.
Step 3: Add cream cheese, ranch dressing, hot sauce, and butter to the pan, stirring occasionally until combined.
Step 4: Add pheasant to sauce mixture, continue stirring until the meat is fully-integrated.
Step 5: Remove tater tots from oven, move oven rack to top slot, increase heat to 475° F.
Step 6: Layer the sauce/meat mixture over the top of the tater tots.
Step 7: Top tots and sauce with cheese and place in oven for 2-3 minutes.
Step 8: Remove sheet pan for final time and garnish tater tots with chopped scallions
Tips and substitutions
In my book, pheasants are one of the easiest ways to introduce someone to wild game. I freely substitute pheasant into most chicken recipes, this one included.
This recipe is a play off a popular appetizer at my in-laws’ restaurant. It yields enough to be a solid side dish or appetizer for two people. If you’re headed to a party, double this at least.
I prefer to pan-fry my pheasant breasts after seasoning them with salt and pepper. Baking, grilling, or even smoking are also options, if you want to experiment with flavors that way.
For the crispiest tots, lay them out on a sheet tray lined with paper towel and let them sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes before placing them in the oven. That way, they won’t be completely frozen when you place them in the oven. Just be sure to remove the paper towel before baking.
While you can get away with cream cheese from a block, I strongly prefer the whipped version. The added air and lower density promotes even and fast melting. If you don’t have whipped cream cheese available, you can simply use a hand or stand mixer to aerate the cream cheese.
Recently, I started mixing my own ranch dressing by utilizing Hidden Valley Ranch seasoning packets. I’ve found this to be much more flavorful. The end result tastes a bit less processed.
Feel free to adjust the amount of hot sauce to your taste. This recipe provides just the right amount of kick. It’s heat without destroying the flavor.
Sharp cheddar cheese is my go-to shredded cheddar. But whatever you have on hand will work just fine.
If blue cheese isn’t your thing, gorgonzola is a suitable substitute.