At Home With Samantha



By Samantha Schwalm



I love making winter dinners cozy and simple. For example, preparing a few soups, stews, or gumbos are great wintertime entertainment for your guests. We have even been known to make more “game” types dinners. Our favorite is Pheasant potpie. I make it with mushrooms in red wine gravy. Serve with an equally large and bold red wine, and you have a perfect comfort pairing.

Here is my Potpie Recipe:

4 Pheasant breasts on the bone
1 Onion (small diced)
1 Garlic clove (minced)
2 lbs Mushrooms (sliced)
1/4 cup Flour
3 32oz containers of Chicken stock or homemade pheasant stock

Pie Crust:
2 c flour
1/4 butter (cold)
4 tbs cold water
Pinch of salt

Place flour and butter in a Cuisinart and pulse until 6 times. Turn it on continuously, while slowly adding 1 tablespoon of water at a time until it forms into a ball. Form dough into a ball and wrap in Saran Wrap. Place in the fridge for a 1/2 hour, or overnight.

Preheat a 375 oven. Place pheasant breasts on a greased baking sheet and place in the oven for 30 minutes. While pheasant is cooking, in a Dutch oven sweat the onions and garlic for about 3 minutes. Then add mushrooms and sauté until there are only 2 tbs of liquid left. Add flour and mix for about 1 minute. Add chicken stock, and bring to a boil. Simmer for 5 minutes, until it starts to thicken. When the pheasant comes out of the oven, pull the meat off and add to the sauce. Continue to simmer until it thickens to almost a chowder consistency. Let cool.

While the filling is cooling, take the dough out of the refrigerator and cut in half. Roll out each half, and place 1 in a regular pie pan (or small pie dishes). Fill with pheasant and mushrooms, and clever the top with the rest of the pie crust. Brush the pie crust with egg, and poke the top 3 times with a knife or fork. Make in a 350 oven 30 minutes, until golden brown.


Pheasant Pot Pie.

Pheasant napkin rings.

Personal Birthday Idea:
A fabulous way to personalize a child’s or an adult’s birthday is to have the guest decorate their own cakes, to bring home! Last year for my daughter’s birthday I made 10 individual to tiered 8 inch round cakes and frosted them for each of the girls. Then the girls were given more frosting, along with sprinkles, and various items to decorate their own individual cake.




When they were finished I placed them in cake boxes, which we tied with butchers string. Finally, each child’s name was written on the box with a sharpie marker.



Cocktail Party:
For those of you that know me and have read any of my articles, you know that I am a huge believer in food bringing people together. There is nothing better than a lovely cocktail party to bring people together. A fun way to make it a little more personal is instead of receiving a hostess gift, the hostess can give the guests a little something when they leave. It doesn’t have to be anything extravagant. Sometimes just a little gift bag with a fun pack of cocktail napkins will do the trick!