Eating less meat means that the meat you do eat has to be better. Free range, nutritious, sustainable and locally-sourced. The Eat Game Awards, are celebrating chefs, restaurants, pubs and butchers who are all encouraging us to enjoy eating more game. Nominations for the awards have just opened and anyone can put forward their favourite game heroes. Voting is open until 1 November 2019.
To inspire you to try more game, here’s two of our favourite recipes to try at home.
Partridge leg dippers by José Souto
Image by Steve Lee
Serves: 10 (3 legs each)
Prep time: 25 minutes
Cooking time: approx. 1 hour
30 partridge legs
2 litres chicken stock
200g plain flour
4 eggs, beaten
200g panko breadcrumbs
For the dip
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
2 tsp smoked paprika
50ml soy sauce
250ml tomato passata
30ml (roughly 1 ½ tbsp) honey
Vegetable or sunflower oil for cooking
Remove the thigh bone from the partridge legs and clean or trim the leg bones. Poach the legs in simmering chicken stock for 45 minutes until tender. Remove and allow to cool. Put the flour, egg and breadcrumbs into separate bowls. Dip each leg into the flour for a good coating. Then the egg. And finally the breadcrumbs, shaking off any excess before you put them onto a plate, ready for cooking.
To make the dip, put a glug of oil into a small frying pan, turn the heat to medium, and cook the garlic until just starting to colour (be careful not to burn). Then add the smoked paprika, soy sauce, tomato passata and honey and stir well. Allow to cook for 10 minutes then take off the heat to cool. Transfer into a dipping bowl.
To cook the partridge legs, pour 6cm of sunflower oil into a medium-sized heavy-bottomed saucepan, or use a deep fat fryer. Heat to 160°C. If using a saucepan, please be careful as the oil will be very hot. Fry the partridge legs in small batches until golden brown and then remove them with tongs and put onto kitchen paper to soak up any excess oil.
Pile high onto a plate and serve together with the dipping sauce.
Three-Bird Wellington by José Souto
Image by Steve Lee
Prep time: 35 minutes
Cooking time: 40 to 55 minutes
9 long slices of streaky bacon
3 skinned pheasant breasts
260g Cumberland sausage meat
90g dried apricots (preferably organic)
20g pistachio nuts, shell removed
4 skinned pigeon breasts
4 skinned partridge breasts
1kg puff pastry
1 egg, beaten for egg wash
Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/375°F/gas mark 4.
Lay the bacon slices vertically on a large piece of Clingfilm, so that they overlap slightly. Starting from the edge of the bacon, lay the three pheasant breasts horizontally on top, again, overlapping them slightly.
Divide the sausage meat in half. Put each half between two pieces of Clingfilm and roll out until they’re the size of the three breasts. Place the first piece of sausage meat onto the pheasant breasts and sprinkle with half the pistachios and apricots. Then, put the four pigeon breasts on top, followed by the second piece of sausage meat, and the rest of the pistachios and apricots. Finally, top everything off with the four partridge breasts.
Carefully roll everything up, wrapping the bacon around the breasts and sausage meat. Then, roll everything in Clingfilm, twist the ends to give you a long sausage-shaped joint and put in the fridge for 20 minutes.
On another piece of Clingfilm, roll out a piece of puff pastry to a 3mm to 4mm thickness. It must be long enough to cover the meat and overlap by 2cm underneath, and about 5cm wider. Brush a little water over the top end and along the edges to help it seal later. Take the meat out of the fridge, remove the Clingfilm and place it at that the bottom edge of the pastry. Roll the meat in the pastry until you meet the top edge. Tighten the roll and seal the dough on the sides by gripping the Clingfilm on each side and squeezing slightly. Remove the Clingfilm and pierce any air pockets to ensure the pastry is well set around joint. Lay the joint on a well-greased tray with the seal on the bottom and brush the top with egg wash.
Roll another piece of puff pastry to a 3mm thickness and then roll a lattice cutter along it. Place this over the top of the joint, trim off any excess and egg wash it.
Finally, make three small holes at the base, along each side of the joint, to allow any juices to escape. Place into a pre-heated oven at 180°C (normal oven temperature) for 30 minutes, then turn up to 200°C (180°C fan / gas mark 6)for a further 15 minutes. Allow to rest for 10 minutes after removing from the oven and before cutting.