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Treasures from the Wild

Posted Oct 16, 2015
This month, we officially welcomed the start of autumn in the UK. Which means, the nights are a little longer, the air a little crisper and Game season is well and truly in full swing!   

Shooting has been practiced in Britain since prehistoric times and is a part of British rural culture. However, why do we make such a fuss of Game season in the foodie world?  

Game On - Why celebrate Game Season?

Firstly, Wild Game is not available all year round. The majority of animals can only be shot during specific times of the year. This rest period allows the animals to breed and migrate to winter grounds. In the UK, shooting season starts around August time, right through to December, this may vary from breed to breed.  As the shooting season is so short, chefs have to make the most of it, which is why Wild Game is celebrated in restaurants across the UK.

Secondly, Wild Game meat has such a unique taste. This means chefs can get quite experimental with their dishes and move away from their usual menus. 

Andrew Pern's Pot Aau Feu
Galvin's Grouse Dish



Get in the Game - Why Cook with Wild Game?

We are so used to eating farm reared animals, that the thought of eating something wild, can be little daunting for most people. Deer, elk, rabbit, duck, pheasant, grouse are the most commonly hunted Game animals.  Unlike farmed animals, wild ones have a rich, ‘gamey’ taste. And by ‘gamey’ we mean it has an earthy flavour, which is down to the animal’s varied diet of acorns and weeds. Also, as they are typically more active, the meat is a lot learner. This means it contains less calories, less fat and more protein.

As a home cook, you shouldn’t fear sourcing and cooking wild game. It is fun to experiment with new and interesting ingredients. If you are looking for meat to bring something different to your dishes, then we recommend you try cooking with game. It also supports your local food movement. Ask your butcher what Game meat he can source and start from there.  

Wild Game Recipes to Try at Home
Once you have your Game meat, it’s down to the fun bit – the recipes! Check out For Cooks favourites below…

Andrew Pern’s Pot au Feu.
Meaning ‘Pot on the Fire’, this dish is traditionally made with beef, however, Andrew has added his Yorkshire charm to the recipe and used locally shot pigeon and duck breast. Andrew demonstrated this dish at this year’s Great Yorkshire Show and now you can try it at home!

Galvin’s Daube of Venison Quince and Chestnuts
. If you are new to cooking with Game, then Venison is a great place to start. It is quite similar to beef, only leaner and richer in taste. This recipe is a Galvin Brother’s classic, go on, give it a go at home!   


Paul Ainsworth’s Roast Grouse, pain au chocolat, roast potatoes and blackberries
. August is the month when Grouse is in high demand, the 12th in particular. This is known as the ‘Glorious Twelfth’ in the restaurant world, where the race is on to be the first to feature Grouse on menus! It’s all very exciting! Grouse is a strong and nimble bird, meaning it is really flavoursome! Paul teams his with pan au chocolate and blackberries, creating a real comforting, winter dish.

Rupert Rowley’s Tempura of Partridge & Damson Jelly
. Part of the Pheasant family, the Partridge has delicate and tender flesh. Rupert complements his with Damson Jelly, lovingly wrapped in seaweed and batter.   
 

Special Game Dinners
Game season is highly celebrated in the restaurant world, with many hosting their own special dinners! Here’s our top picks…

La Chapelle Dinner
Northcote Dinner


Galvin’s La Chapelle – 9th & 10th November
 La Chapelle will be hosting two dinners, which have at their heart the King of British Game birds – the noble partridge. Special menus have been created by Chef Patrol Jeff Galvin and Head Chef Eric Jolibois. The simplicity of partridge means there is no place for anything but the finest ingredients, which is exactly what La Chapelle have gathered together for their Game Dinner. A selection of wines chosen and presented by Richard Lashbrook, Master of Wine, will accompany the menu.   Find the menu and book a place here.

Galvin’s Bistrot de Luxe – 2nd & 3rd November  Similar to Galvin’s La Chapelle, Bistrot de Luxe Game Dinner will concentrate on the simplicity of Game and fine ingredients to go with it. The word "game” comes from the Old English "gamen" which means joy, sport and merriment. This is the focus of Birstot de Luxe’s Dinner, as it is shows the process they go through to get the Game to your plate. To accompany the six courses, there will also be a selection of wines specially chosen by Richard Lashbrook, Master of Wine. To ensure your place, please click here.  

Northcote - 22nd October
Join Northcote for an evening celebrating Game, in association with BASC. As with everything from Northcote, the Dinner will be pure indulgence, with the best Game and Champagne in the land. BASC's mission is to promote and protect sporting shooting and the well-being of the countryside throughout the UK and overseas. This dinner is all about hearing about their work, while chefs Lisa and Aled deliver a menu to celebrate delicious local Game. You will enjoy a four course menu, Louis Roederer Champagne & Canapé reception and £20 donation to BASC charity. Find out more and book a table here.  

Rowley’s Restaurant – 22nd October
Rowley’s Restaurant is putting on a real tasty dinner this month with their Game for All Evening! The menu is varied, using some of the best locally sourced Game. How does Venison Bresaola, Mini Game Pie and Pheasant Boudin sound? Amazing! Check out the menu here and book your table.

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