Seasonal Ingredients: British Game

Get the most out of British game birds

Pheasant and partridge are my two favorite home grown wild birds and now is the best time to get them. British game is brilliant; not only does it have a beautiful distinctive flavor but it is also an economical alternative to other meats (especially now), it supports our great British farmers and butchers and as it travels relatively small distances from farm to shop it keeps your carbon footprint low. With the end of season (1st February) fast approaching I wanted to share a few great tips.
Partridge is only a small bird and if you go to a good butcher then you can buy them already prepared, one bird will feed one person. A young bird which has been hung for a few days will have a nice gamey flavor whilst still being tender and will be best prepared very simply by either roasting or simple grilling. Partridge which is a bit older is best for stews and casseroles. Top of my list is a nice whole roasted partridge with roasted swede and parsnip chips and a really light jus to make the most of the partridge flavor.
Pheasants are larger and if you have ever come across one whilst out in the car you will know that they can move at pace! Because they lead an active life this can make them a bit tougher than partridge; legs are best removed for slowly braising in a stew whilst the breasts will remain lean so should be kept really moist when roasting or grilling. I love a pheasant casserole with plenty of bacon lardons and wild mushrooms with a side of buttery mash potato and some simple British grown cabbage.
And don’t let anything go to waste… anything left over will make a delicious game pie!

Kelvin Johnson
Head Chef