Great recipes with game

Having been to my game seminar, I was inspired to try cooking some myself. Why don’t you do the same? Here are some great recipes to try.

They explain how to prepare the game yourself, but if you’re not keen to do that, ask your butcher to get it ready for you just the way you like.

Barbecued Hunch of Venison with a Rosemary Garlic and Olive oil Seasoning

Serves 6, depending on size of haunch

1 venison hunch open boned and butterflied

½ bunch rosemary

3 large cloves garlic

1 pack Maldon Salt

175  ml Olive oil

Take the haunch and cut the shank off at the joint, keep this for another day as this is too tough to cook on a BBQ. Open bone the thigh by cutting down on to the bone and following it then cut around it.

Once the bone is out place a cut either side of where the bone had been to flatten out the venison and make it all one thickness. You can always ask your butcher to do this for you.

Place the thyme, garlic, olive oil and salt into a liquidiser and blitz to make a paste.Use Maldon salt as it has large flaky crystals that make a good paste without making the meat too salty.

Take the marinade and rub well in to all the venison. Place it into a plastic bag and pour the rest of the marinade over then tie a knot in the bag and leave for 2 hours or in your fridge overnight. If you have placed it in the fridge over night take it out and allow to sit for an hour or so.

Light the barbecue and allow to get hot in the case of charcoal allow to burn until white.

Scrape off the marinade from the venison. Place the venison onto the barbecue and seal well on both sides, then remove from barbecue.

Take a large square of foil doubled over 4 times with the shiny side out to reflect a little heat.

Place the foil in the centre of the barbecue and then place the venison on top. Close the barbecue lid and allow to cook, turning after 15 to 20 min then turn and then cook for a further 10 to 15min.

Venison should be cooked to rare or medium then allowed to rest for 10 min before slicing and serving.

Pan Fried Breast Of Partridge with buttered Curly Kale and Porcini Mushroom Sauce

Serves 2 

Partridge with wild mushroom

1 partridge

500ml chicken stock

20g dried porcini mushrooms

¼ pt cream

Olive oil

Butter

Curly kale

Remove the breasts from the partridge.

Chop up the legs and carcass, fry off in a frying pan allowing to go a dark golden brown colour.

Bring the chicken stock to the boil and add the dried porcini mushrooms then simmer for 5 min.

Once the bones are coloured remove any excess grease or fat from pan and add the chicken and mushroom stock.

Bring stock to boil and allow to reduce by a third

Pass the stock through a fine strainer and return to the stove then add cream and reduce to required consistency.

Season the partridge and pan fry for 2 ½  min on each side basting in oil as you go, if you would like them slightly more done cook for longer. Allow to rest for 3 mins.

Blanch the curly kale in some salted boiling water then refresh in cold water.

Melt a knob of butter in a pan drain the curly kale and reheat by tossing in the melted butter.

Slice the rested partridge breast and serve with the buttery kale, mashed potato and the porcini mushroom sauce.

Pigeon

Rabbit Duo: Rabbit and Chorizo Sausage Fricassee and Grilled Loin Of Rabbit with Thyme and Black Pepper.

Serves 2 

Rabbit and Chorizo Sausage Fricassee

1 rabbit

250g small chorizo sausage

1 Spanish onion

1 clove garlic

1 tin chopped tomatoes

½ chicken stock cube

1 sprig of oregano

1 bay leaf

½ glass white wine

Olive oil

Cut the saddle out of the rabbit still on the bone and put this to one side for the grilled loin dish. Take the rest of the rabbit and take it all off the bone dicing it into even pieces.

Finely chop the onion and the garlic

The chorizo will have a skin on the outside which needs to be removed once you have done this cut the sausage into slices about 1cm thick.

Pull the oregano leaves off the sprigs.

Add some olive oil to a large pan and allow to become hot, then seal off  the Rabbit so that it looks cooked on the outside. Remove from pan and leave to one side.

Add a little more oil to pan and turn the flame down.

Sauté the onions and garlic off for about 1 min then add the chorizo, oregano and bay leaf. Cook for another 3 min, this is when you will see the paprika oils come out of the sausage. Add the wine and allow to reduce by half.

Once wine has reduced add the tomatoes and the stock cube dissolved in ¼  litre of boiling water.

Add rabbit and bring to boil then turn down to simmer until rabbit is tender. Remove bay leaf.

Place in serving dish alongside the rabbit loin or with rice or cous cous.

Grilled Rabbit loin with Thyme and black Pepper 

1 saddle of rabbit

1 good sprig of thyme

Virgin olive oil

Remove the loins from the rabbit saddle and any sinew.

Finely chop the thyme leaves and place in a sandwich bag with a little olive oil, leave for minimum of 1 hour or can be left over night.

Heat up a griddle pan.

Remove the rabbit loin from the bag and scrape off the majority of the oil.

Roll in a little freshly crushed black pepper.

Place on the griddle pan at an angle to the lines on the pan and roll slowly allowing the pan to mark and colour the loin all the way around then lift it off and turn the loin around and roll again allowing the griddle to mark the loin and create a cris cross pattern on the meat as well as cook it.

Serve alongside the rabbit fricassee or as a starter with a salad.

For more recipe ideas visit www.basctasteofgame.org.uk

Thanks to the British Association for Shooting and Conservation for these recipes

Back to school: all about British game

Easily one of the best things about being a food writer and passionate cook is that you can never stop learning about food! And that combined with the fact that I always feel excited when I walk into a college (I feel like I’m a student again!), meant I was really looking forward to my day at the Westminster Kingsway College in Victoria.

My day’s seminar on Game Recognition and Preparation was conducted by Jose Souto who is chief lecturer in culinary arts and a total expert on British game which he has been hunting, preparing and cooking for years!

Who knew what a big subject it was! Jose started by talking us through the smaller game, some feathered and some furred. There are plenty of species of game bird in the UK, from the commonly found wood pigeon, to pheasants, partridges, grouse and duck and the rarer migratory woodcock and snipe. They’re all available at different times of the year (except the wood pigeon which you will always find).

Some of the game birds found in the UK

And then there’s the smaller furred animals like rabbit and hare.

Rabbits, hare and more birds

We then moved downstairs for an excellent lunch in one of the college’s two restaurants (see previous post). A tasty pigeon starter was followed by a partridge main course.

These are some of the deer you’ll find in this country

After lunch it was on to the deer (venison) of which there are six species in the UK. The most fascinating part of the day for me was when Jose took a whole deer and proceeded to butcher it into all the different cuts of meat. This is what he started with.

Jose gets started on the deer – he skinned it in front of us and made it look effortless

Make no mistake, it’s a physical job, a proper form of exercise! And Jose managed to keep up a constant stream of banter while he did it! He approached the whole process very much from a chef’s perspective. While he was breaking the animal down he talked about dishes he would make from each of the cuts and clever ways to make the meat go further.

So here’s the finished job…what a lot of meat

It was a pleasure to spend the day learning more about this amazing subject and about the versatility of game when it comes to cooking with it. Look out for some amazing recipes coming soon.

Jose’s passion for game really shines through and is very contagious. I definitely know a lot more than I did but his knowledge is vast and has accumulated over a lifetime. I’m hoping he’s going to do a guest blog for me soon. Watch this space.

Let me tell you a secret

How I love an exciting new discovery. I recently went to a fascinating seminar on game recognition and preparation (more to come in a later blog) by the knowledgable and charming Jose Souto, who is the chief lecturer in culinary arts at Westminster Kingsway College.

The college is well-known for its excellent culinary courses and has produced chefs like Jamie Oliver and Ainsley Harriot.

What it’s not so well-known (well, I certainly didn’t know about it) for is its two restaurants, which are open to the public. The perfect environment for students to practise their trade from the second year of their course onwards. The food is highly impressive and it’s a great way to enjoy a fantastic meal for a great price.

The Brasserie is open for lunch Monday to Friday and for dinner on selected evenings between 6 and 9. The menu offers tasty choices with starters like crispy hens egg, white bean puree and chorizo oil, cassoulet of petit gris snails and ham hock terrine with piccalilli, all for just £6 each. Main courses include things like pan-fried sea bass fillet, pancetta-wrapped pheasant supreme, pan-roasted Barnsley chop and Rope-grown mussels at prices from £10 to £13.

The Escoffier Restaurant is their fine-dining establishment and is open for lunch from Monday to Friday. The tasting menu is £25 for canapes and six courses. You will be able to taste things like ballotine of quail, shellfish consomme, confit salmon, roast rump of beef and the dessert I had in the Brasserie on the day of my visit. Such amazing value.

As I was there to celebrate the wonder of British game, it was only appropriate that we had it for lunch in the Brasserie. A fabulous lunch with a starter of pigeon and main course of partridge. Plus a stunning dessert.

The pigeon was quite a revelation for me as it was beautifully smoked and the raspberries went just perfectly with the tender meat.

Wood pigeon salad, candied walnuts and raspberry vinaigrette

Pan-roasted breast of partridge with braised red cabbage, fondant potato, seared fois gras and madeira jus

Chocolate torte with seared caramelised clementine and praline ice cream

Find at more at www.thevincentrooms.com

Westminster Kingsway College is at Vincent Square, London SW1, just behind Victoria train station.