We’ve been working on some tasty new game meat recipes with food specialist and author Nerys Howell.
Nerys shares why cooking with game makes eating healthier both extra easy and flavoursome;
What makes Game Meat so versatile?
Game is an extremely versatile meat; quick and easy to cook when time is short which is ideal if you are looking for a speedy mid-week meal. Game meat can be an easy substitute in your favourite recipes; from stir fries, bolognese, pasta bake and casseroles to pies, pot roasts and curries. Pairing well with a host of strong flavours, herbs and spices, game meat can be cooked year round and adapted to suit the seasons with recipes from all over the world.
What are some of the new ways you’ve discovered that game can be prepared?
The best way to cook game is either very quickly or very slowly over a low heat. As with other meats the leaner cuts such as fillet, tenderloin, breast, haunch are best cooked for a few minutes either side where as the tougher cuts such as shoulder are best cooked slowly as in casseroles, curries and pot roast with herbs, spices, root vegetables, wine, beer and cider. As the meat has a stronger flavour it pairs well with different spices as in curries, stir fries and chilli.
How would you describe the flavour to someone who is new to game?
Game is rich in flavour with a unique taste and smell that can appear stronger than other meats you may be more familiar with. The unique taste and iron richness is a result of a diet of naturally foraged ingredients.
Pheasant is becoming a popular choice with consumers as it’s a great more flavoursome alternative to chicken, as is partridge. You’ll also find wild boar a delicious pork or beef substitute and pigeon a great delicacy that takes just minutes to cook; a rich red meat that is perfect simply pan fried or griddled and works just as well in a pie.
New to cooking with game? Try using minced venison instead of minced beef in your go-to dishes from cottage pie to koftas, you’ll find it easy to transition. Alternatively why not feature game on your next dinner party menu to impress your guests?
What are the health benefits?
Both lean and nutritious; considered a healthier alternative to other farm raised animals due to both low saturated fat and low cholesterol content. Game is an excellent source of protein, vitamins and minerals, richly flavoured with the natural diet that these free ranging animals have foraged on in the wild.
Does “what grows together goes together” apply to game?
Game meat is seasonal and very much complemented by the ingredients from its natural habitat such as wild mushrooms, woody herbs (sage, rosemary, thyme, wild bay), fruit and berries such as blackberries, sloes, plums, apples.
There are some classic combinations such as venison with juniper berries, chocolate, blackberries and roast pheasant with game chips and bread sauce. Wild duck and guinea fowl work well with fruitier sauces (oranges, apple, berries) and partridge with apricots or prunes and rabbit with mustard, olives and cider.