Venison Tagine with Squash and Prunes

People keep telling me autumn is underway, and according to the weather experts in Britain’s Met Office it started on September 1st, but they just carve the year into quarters to make their statistics easier to calculate. Clinging to summer, I prefer to stick with the old astronomical calendar and by that measure, the seasons change on the 22nd. That doesn’t stop me wanting autumnal food though.  Continue reading

Game On!

Image of game terrine

Game terrine

I’m reminded of that hoary old joke: ‘ “I’m game!” she said. So he shot her.’ Or the equally venerable pub sign over a low doorway: duck or grouse. I’ll be keeping my head down this week because the shooting season is in full swing and it’s British Game Week to boot.

Some people are wary of game, expecting it to taste ‘high’. Back in my parents’ generation, pheasants weren’t considered to be ready for the kitchen until they’d been hung for so long you could pull out their tail feathers.

But times have changed and most people now choose to mature game for shorter periods, although like any meat, it still needs to hang to improve the flavour and texture. Think of dry-aged beef. Come on, even turkey started out as a game bird. Game is low in cholesterol and high in protein. And if you’re still not convinced, remember there are lots of different sorts to try. I think there’s something for everyone.

Partridge and pheasant are actually quite delicate meats. Wild rabbit has more flavour than farmed rabbit but it’s certainly not going to bite you back. Venison from, say, red deer will be much stronger in taste than the meat of a muntjac, which is my personal favourite. I’ll fight you for that fillet if I meet you at the game dealer’s.

Below are links to a dozen game dishes I’ve cooked over the last few years. Go on, give one a go this week. I’m game if you are.

Image of venison with cherries

Venison with Cherries

Roast Venison with Cherries

Game Terrine

Game Pie

Traditional Roast Partridge

Venison Goulash with Herb Dumplings

Wild Duck with Three Oranges

Image of wild duck with three oranges

Duck with Three Oranges

Pheasant with Celery and Cream

Hot-smoked Pheasant and Partridge

Beef and Pigeon Pie

Pheasant and Quince Tagine

Seared Venison with Fondant Potatoes and Salsify

Venison Mole

Image of venison mole

Venison Mole

 

Seared Steak with Pearl Barley and Citrus

Pearl barley is something I always have in the cupboard but rarely use. It’ll be making regular appearances from now on because I loved the taste and texture in this salad.

The recipe is based on one in the Moro cookbook but as I live so far from the shops I had to improvise based on what I had to hand. The original is made with sirloin steak and grapes. I used venison fillet and citrus fruit. Continue reading

Hot Smoked Pheasant and Partridge

Image of burner lit for hot smoker

I’ve given up smoking cigarettes. I seem to have started smoking everything else in sight. No, Officer, nothing illegal here, that’s just a side of salmon/slab of bacon/hunk of cheese. Regular readers will know we’ve finally got the cold smoker up and running but this week I’ve been hot smoking game. Continue reading

Wild Duck with Three Oranges

Image of a brace of mallardsIf regular readers wonder why I make so many game recipes at this time of the year, the answer is that living as we do in the Suffolk countryside, we have a number of generous friends who keep us supplied with pheasants, partridges, rabbits, pigeons and even venison. I like game and I’ve never been one to turn down free food, so it finds its way onto our plates on a regular basis.

Recently our friend James turned up with a brace of wild ducks. Continue reading

Game Pie

Image of wintery gardenThis is a pie to be eaten hot on a cold wintry day after the sort of walk that leaves your ears and toes tingling and your hands reaching for the warmth of a log fire.

A classic country recipe, it can be made from any mix of game – try venison, pheasant, partridge, pigeon or rabbit. If you’re short on game you can bulk it out with some stewing beef. Continue reading