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.