Game

PHEASANT (OR GUINEA FOWL) BREAST IN A GREEN CLOAK WITH CREAMY HORSERADISH SAUCE

A good recipe if you have access to plenty of pheasants, as you only use the breasts (freeze the legs for a stew). Guinea fowl or chicken breasts work beautifully also. The skinned, boned breasts are covered with a stuffing, wrapped in blanched cabbage leaves and briefly roasted. The horseradish sauce provides a good counterpoint.

Serves 4
4 pheasant or guinea fowl breasts, each about 100g
salt and pepper
75g butter
1 onion, finely chopped
300g lean pork, cut in cubes
100g lardons, or streaky bacon diced small
3-4 juniper berries, crushed with a knife
4 green (Savoy) cabbage leaves, blanched and refreshed
250ml dry white wine
250ml whipping cream or crème fraîche
2-3 tbsp creamed horseradish

  • Season the breasts and set them aside
  • Soften half the onion in 25g of the butter without allowing it to brown
  • Scrape it into a food processor
  • Add the pork and bacon, juniper berries and salt and pepper to taste
  • Process to the texture of sausagemeat
  • Divide the stuffing between the four breasts, pressing it down and spreading it out a bit to completely cover them
  • Wrap each in a cabbage leaf
  • Melt a little butter and brush it over the parcels
  • Put them on a baking sheet and chill them until ready to proceed
  • Heat the oven to 220C
  • Roast the parcels for 15-16 minutes or until the meat is firm yet springy to the touch
  • Soften the rest of the onion in the remaining butter without allowing it to brown
  • Add the wine and let it reduce almost to nothing
  • Add the cream and reduce by half
  • Stir in the creamed horseradish, season to taste.
  • Slice each parcel and serve over the sauce with a purée of red kidney beans

DICED GAME WITH MUSHROOMS AND RED WINE BUTTER SAUCE

A seasonal version of the classic Swiss dish Geschnätzlets (diced veal with mushrooms in a cream sauce). Here, diced tender game is seared, mixed with mushrooms – include some wild if you can – and finished in a red wine butter sauce. As a variant, you can put the game in individual pie dishes or a single pie dish, cover with puff pastry and bake.

Serves 6-8
3 tbsp flour
salt and pepper
1 kg trimmed, tender game (e.g. venison, hare, wild boar), cut in small pieces
25g + 50g butter
1-2 tbsp oil
2 shallots, finely chopped
600g mushrooms, sliced (include wild mushrooms if available)
300ml red wine
300ml game or beef stock (or 300ml water + 1 stock cube)
6 juniper berries, crushed
salt and pepper
2 tsp redcurrant, crab apple or quince jelly

  • Put the flour in a plastic bag with some salt and pepper
  • Add the game, shake well to coat in the flour, then tip the game into a colander and shake off the excess
  • Heat 25g butter and the oil in a wide, heavy frying pan or sauté pan and sear the game in 3 or 4 batches. – do not crowd the pan, otherwise the meat will not brown (good for colour and flavour)
  • Lift the meat out with a slotted spoon as it is ready and transfer to a dish or bowl
  • Continue with the rest of the meat, adding a little more oil if necessary each time
  • When the meat is all done, soften the shallots in the same pan (add a little more oil if necessary), without allowing them to brown
  • Add the mushrooms to the pan, season to taste with salt and pepper, cover and cook gently until the juices are rendered
  • Uncover, raise the heat and cook hard to evaporate the juices
  • Tip the mushrooms out of the pan into the dish or bowl with the meat
  • Add the red wine to the pan with the juniper berries
  • Boil down hard to reduce by half
  • Then add the stock and reduce again by half
  • Stir in the jelly, check the seasoning, adjusting if necessary
  • Finally, whisk in the 50g butter, cut in pieces – the sauce will thicken lightly
  • Return the meat and mushrooms to the pan and simmer for 5 minutes to heat it through
  • If not to be used immediately, cool the mixture and chill it
  • Reheat gently for serving, either in a pan or in the microwave.

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