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


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 stewing beef. Continue reading