The bird on your Thanksgiving table this year should be pheasant—specifically, the savory roast pheasant with garlicky sausage jambalaya dressing from Cheryl and Bill Jamison’s new cookbook, Texas Home Cooking (Harvard Common Press). Rubbed with a pungent Tabasco seasoning, this handsome variation on the holiday menu takes an excursion through cajun country.

When Thanksgiving is over, try other recipes—both traditional and modern—from the Jamisons’ eminently readable text, which has myriad quips and anecdotes gleaned from Texas’ salty history. In what other cookbook would you learn that Sam Houston once vilified a political rival as “nothing but a damn vegetarian”?

Savory Roast Pheasant

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon each Tabasco sauce, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and black pepper
2 pheasants

Prep pheasants the night before cooking. In food processor mix butter, garlic, and seasonings. Carefully loosen pheasants’ skin with fingers. Rub birds inside and out with butter mixture, especially under breast skin. Place in large plastic bag and refrigerate overnight. Let warm to room temperature an hour before cooking.

Garlicky Sausage Jambalaya Dressing

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 pound andouille sausage
1 medium onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 celery sticks, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon each dry mustard, filé powder, black pepper, and white pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
2 1/3 cups chicken stock
2 cups canned diced tomatoes (and extra tomato sauce to taste, if desired)
1 cup uncooked rice
6 green onions, sliced
1/2 cup unsalted chicken stock

While pheasants warm up, grease large baking dish. Warm oil in large skillet over medium heat. Remove andouille from casing, crumble, and brown, about 10 minutes. Transfer to baking dish.

Reduce heat to medium low and sauté remaining ingredients except last 5 about 10 minutes. Pour in stock and tomatoes and bring to boil. (At this point, preheat oven to 375 degrees.) Add rice, cover, and simmer about 20 minutes until liquid is absorbed. Stir in green onions.

Spoon rice mixture into baking dish, mixing with andouille. Cover and set aside. Place pheasants on greased rack in uncovered roasting pan. Cook breast-side down for 15 minutes. Turn breast-side up and cook 40 to 45 more minutes, basting frequently with unsalted stock and some of the pan juices. Place covered rice dish in oven with pheasants for the last 15 to 20 minutes to heat.

When pheasants are done, place under a foil tent for 10 minutes before carving. Serves 4 to 5.