The game is on! This is our quick and easy guide to seasonal game meat and how to use it for some awesome meals this winter.
Guaranteed to be full of flavour, game meat is native to the UK and abundant in the winter months. Game is the name given to wild animals shot towards the end of the year for their meat and they are mostly found in woodland areas where they eat berries, mushrooms and nuts. This forest diet gives the game a really intense flavour, some fruity, whilst others more nutty, meaning all game can handle being paired with strong flavours so you can really get creative.
There is a huge variety of game to choose from, ranging from game birds such as quail and pheasant, to the most popular game meat venison. Game makes a fantastic winter meal and comes in at a really good price point and thankfully most game is readily available in your local supermarket.
For all these reasons and more we have put together a beginner’s guide to all the game that is on offer in good shops and supermarkets. So don’t shy away from game, get in there while it lasts and celebrate this wonderful British produce.
Venison is the most well-known game meat. The lean red meat can be prepared in much the same way as beef. However, the flavour is much stronger so it can take on other big flavours without being overpowered. When the frost hits the ground and it gets properly cold outside, we can’t recommend a venison casserole enough, so dice those steaks and slowly cook in red wine and dry herbs.
Asda Venison Steaks £4.00
Pheasants are really versatile and work so well cooked a number of different ways: Roasted, stewed, pickled or braised, but you can’t beat a cracking pheasant terrine, wrapped in smoky bacon and served with farmhouse bread and apple chutney.
Wood pigeon is native to our forests and lives off of berries, which gives the meat a really sweet intense flavour, but if overcooked it can get tough. We suggest flash frying the wood pigeon in a pan and serving it with chestnuts and crispy bacon on a bed of rocket for a delicious winter salad.
We think that these little birds are the best for a game novice. They can be quick or slow cooked depending on your mood and always come out tasting amazing. Quail’s flavour is strong and can stand up to both sweet and savoury accompaniments. We really love them marinated in Indian spices and slow cooked, hungry yet?
British Partridge comes in two varieties: the native grey and the red legged. The former can be very tender when shot young, and the elegant flavour is slightly less gamey than other meats. Partridge breasts are best pan fried and served with a creamy cider sauce to bring out the sweetness of the meat. Place on a bed of wilted greens with some crispy spuds and this game bird can’t be beat!
Ocado Partridge Breasts £3.40
Available all year round, guinea fowl is a great bird for a dinner for two. A younger bird will roast up beautifully without drying out, but its older and wiser counterpart is best braised until tender to stay succulent. A classic sunday roast of guinea fowl with lemon, rosemary and garlic is always a firm favourite in the MS kitchen.
Tesco Whole Guinea Fowl £6.50
There’s a bit of a taboo about eating rabbit in this country, but its meat is really quite mild and is often likened to high-quality chicken. It’s quite a popular meat on the continent and is definitely at its best when slow cooked, pulled apart and stirred into a home made paella packed full of Mediterranean flavours.