Niki Tilleraas NAHRA’s First Featured Chef


It has turned cold up in the North Tundra Region (formally known as the Central Region).  Dispite the cold and the Viking’s loss to the Sea Hawks last Sunday, we have one good thing going for us and that is Niki’s Pheasant Pot Pie. Read on to learn more about Niki and get her recipe for her pot pie.

Niki T

Meet our first featured chef, Niki Tilleraas. Niki and her husband Troy live in the country near Vermillion, MN where they own and operate TNT Kennels.  Niki describes herself as a wife and mother.  Being a pretty humble, down to earth gal, Niki would be the last person to toot her own horn, so I will do it for her.  In addition to being a great wife and mom, Niki is a “Glam-ma” to two granddaughters, a puppy lover, the heart and soul of TNT Kennels, a dog mom to many of our dogs, a doggie sexologist  (I’ll have her explain that one) and a good friend.


Niki and Troy have four children Brianne, Nick, DaKota and Tucker, one son-in-law Payne, one daughter-in-law Brittany and two beautiful granddaughters Dallas and Paysen.

Niki’s great parenting skills came into play at one our FPRC tests several years ago when her son Tucker was probably around 8 or 9. Tucker was allowed to help out in one of the blinds.  He was partnered with Jason Skyberg.  In hindsight, probably not the best pairing as Jason was quite the jokester.  Jason explained to Tucker that male pheasants were called cocks.  When they called for the bird Jason told Tucker that he should stand up and yell as loud as he could “Cock, Cock, big cock”.  Tucker was silent for a few minutes and then said “My mom wouldn’t like that.  I will just say rooster, rooster.”

One of the many hats Troy wears during the hunting season is guiding at Firesteel Creek Lodge near Isabel, S.D. With plenty of pheasants on hand, Niki has found a good way to use pheasants.  Niki’s Pheasant Pot Pies have her family always asking for more.

pot pie pic

All photo credits: Niki Tilleraas



(Makes 6 large pies)


4 or 5 pheasant breasts

5 or 6 larger baby red potatoes

1 – 14.5 oz. can of sliced carrots

1 – 8 oz. can of mushrooms

1 – 29 oz. can of corn

1 – 28 oz. can of green beans

2 – 49 1/2 oz. can of chicken broth


Salt and pepper

Pie shells (boxed or homemade)

Roast the pheasant breasts in the oven with onion, some of the chicken broth, and seasoned with salt and pepper. Once cooked and cooled, cut the pheasant breasts into bite size pieces and set aside.  (The roasting of the pheasant could be done a day ahead and refrigerated until ready to use.)  Strain the pan broth and add it, along with the rest of the chicken broth, to a large kettle at medium high heat.  Cut the potatoes into bite size pieces and add them to the broth.  Let them simmer in the broth for a bit as these will take longer to cook than the other vegetables.  Then start adding the roasted pheasant & onions, carrots, mushrooms, corn, and green beans to the kettle.   Once these are all cooked, thicken it with flour and water (like you do for gravy…1/2 cup flour to 3/4 cup water…twice per pot).    You should now have a nice full kettle of filling with the consistency of stew.  Remove from heat and let cool a bit before transferring to the pie shells.  Cut slits to vent the top crust, double wrap in tin foil and freeze.  Bake at 425 degrees for 1 1/2 hours from frozen state.


**All veggies are optional. Use whatever you would like.   **Strain canned veggies before adding to kettle.  **Could also skip the crust and be served like stew or poured over biscuits.