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Featured CourseHistoric Ices with Ivan Day
Posted on December 21, 2016
You can't beat seasonal, locally sourced game. Here's our guide to some of the tastiest game birds out there ...
Pheasant is the most plentiful game species in the UK, and arguably the most popular. Oven-ready pheasants can be bought from game dealers, butchers and some supermarkets and are available fresh from October to February, or frozen when out of season. They can be cooked in a similar way to chicken, but are less fatty, so can dry out if left in the over for too long. One pheasant will usually serve two to three people and can be served slightly pink.
Partridge is similar to pheasant in terms of its subtle gamey flavour, and because they are smaller, are best-served simply roasted, pan-fried of grilled. There are two species in Britain - the native grey, often called the English, and the French, or red-legged.
Woodcock are wading birds which live in wet and marshy land. They are migrating birds flying from the UK all the way to Siberia following winter. Traditionally, they are not ‘drawn’ before cooking, as leaving the innards in helps impart intense flavour.
Wood pigeon is a plentiful, edible wild bird available throughout the year. Its meat is versatile with a lovely wild, gamey flavour. It is the perfect meat for anyone who wants sustainable, local food. Its soft, succulent boned breast has the fine grain of steak, but the bird’s diet of seeds, acorns, buds, berries and green crops gives it a complex earthy, woody taste.
Wild goose is a truly traditional festive meat. Taste-wise, it’s similar to duck, thanks to the dark gaminess of the meat and the thick layer of fat which renders down to create extremely crispy skin. The excess fat can then be drained and used to make delicious oven-bottom roast potatoes.