Dundonnell Smoked Salmon

Try Game Birds Before The End Of The Season

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29 January 2017

If you’re looking for new flavours to introduce to your cooking this year, have you considered game birds?


These include meats such as pheasant, partridge, grouse and pigeon, and are deliciously flavoursome meats that make a welcome alternative to the likes of chicken and turkey.


And now is one of the best times to try game birds, as the end of the shooting season is upon us. The grouse season ended in December, but the shooting season for pheasant, red-legged partridge and grey partridge extends until 1 February.


If you’re wondering how best to prepare this kind of meat, we’ve pulled together a few suggested recipes to help inspire you - and introduce you to the world of possibilities that cooking with game birds offers.


Parmesan pheasant breasts with crispy ham


The Field magazine has picked out ten of its favourite pheasant recipes, and among them is parmesan pheasant breasts with crispy ham, which is really easy to prepare.


You begin by scoring the underside of each pheasant breast and seasoning them with pepper, before covering them with chopped sage and parmesan. Once you’ve done that, you layer two slices of prosciutto on each breast, cover them with clingfilm and whack them until they’re around 1cm thick - the recipe recommends using a frying pan for this purpose.


Transfer your flattened pheasant breasts to a non-stick pan on a medium heat, starting ham-side down. You’ll only need to cook them on each side for two to three minutes and you’ve got a delicious addition to a salad, or meat that can be served with fries or other sides of your choosing.


Pot-roasted partridges with red cabbage, garlic and juniper


This next recipe comes courtesy of Delia Smith, and because it’s a pot roast it’s relatively simple.


You begin by heating olive oil in your casserole dish, and browning the partridges - Delia recommends cooking one per person. Once these are brown, remove them from the dish and repeat the process with the cubed pancetta that also features in the dish.


After you’ve cooked the meat, soften the onions in the same dish, then add the garlic and juniper berries to cook down for a few minutes. Stir in the cabbage and allow it all to cook down. Then you add the rest of the ingredients that make up the casserole sauce, mix in the pancetta and put the partridges on top of the cabbage.


Put the lid on the dish, pop it all in the oven for around 40 minutes. Remove the lid and cook for a further 10 minutes to allow the partridges to brown - and then it’s ready to serve. Delia recommends jacket potatoes and cranberry jelly as an accompaniment.


These are just two examples of tasty and different recipes you can whip up with game birds - and you shouldn’t be afraid to experiment with flavours, as the meat is versatile and delicious. It’s a great alternative to more traditional poultry such as chicken and turkey, so why not give it a try?

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