Scotland has natural larder with an outstanding offering. This time of year always fills me with a renewed excitement for my cooking, as we look forward to the game season.
Historically the game season begins on the ‘Glorious Twelfth’ (august 12th) when the red grouse shooting season is officially declared in Britain.
My personal favourite available from August, is young grouse. Its season is short, ending mid December. I always try to make good use of it throughout this short period.
Moving into September we start to see partridge, mallard and goose become available. Duck can be sourced all year and features regularly on our menus at Le Chardon d’Or. When available my preference is always Mallard. I enjoy it's stronger flavour and it has a leaner flesh than the common domestic duck.
Pheasant and wood pigeon feature as well during this season. In the kitchen, my team and I like to experiment with different recipes and presentation styles of our game dishes. Trio of game is always popular, featuring a selection of game birds and/or venison. Seasonality is always key for garnish, from braised cabbage to wild mushrooms and roasted winter vegetables.
I hope you all make the most of the Scottish Game season. The selection of Game on offer shows a variety of different qualities from flavour to texture. This is what makes them such an adaptable and interesting meat to prepare and serve.
Below is one of my own recipes for phesant...try it yourself, it won't disappoint.
Roast Supreme of Pheasant with Braised Savoy Cabbage
1 x Savoy Cabbage
1 x Cabbage
2 x Carrot
1 x Onion
2 tbl Duck Fat
¼ Pint White Wine
1 ltr Chicken Stock
(Muslin Bag – Juniper, Cloves, Star Anise/Thyme)
20 x Vavaldi or Charlotte Potatoes
3 x Parsnips
1 bunch Parsley
3 King Oyster
2 x Shallots
¼ pint Stock
Couple Sprigs Thyme
Start with the Pheasant take off the bone, if preferred you can cook whole and then take the meat off the bone. Chop bones up roughly then put a little oil on top, put in oven until nice dark colour (but not burnt) Fry shallots off Caramelising well add little brandy to the bones, then cover in stock, add thyme leaves, bring to the boil then let simmer for about 1 ½ hours. Pass off the bones then reduce down to consistency needed.
Take Savoy Cabbage, cut into strips finely, peel and slice onion thinly, peel and cut carrots in half then slice thinly into half circles.
Put duck fat in pot and add onion, fry slowly with no colour then add cabbage, mix and fry slowly carrots, white wine and chicken stock. Cover with greaseproof paper, place in oven at 170° to 180° for about an hour. Don’t flood the cabbage with stock, fill just under the cabbage.
Mix every 20 minutes, also checking not dry. When cabbage is cooked, drain stock then reduce until sticky and fold through cabbage until nicely braised.
Peel and cut parsnips into wedges, cook in boiling salted water for a few minutes, ensuring not to cook through, so when you fry them you can achieve a nice golden colour and keep the shape.
Peel or turn the potatoes, depending on their size. Put a hot pan on top of cooker and add a little oil then put the potatoes in, fry getting a little colour then add butter cooking slowly, so when cooked they are golden brown. Pick and chop parsley coarsely. Trim and Slice King Oyster Mushrooms and fry lightly.
Season pheasant both sides. Put in a frying pan, little oil. Place skin side down first, turn over then back on skin.
Put in oven for about 6 – 8 minutes. Take out let rest until needed, reheat and then slice.
Grill the bacon under the grill on both sides until nice golden colour. When dressing the plate, put cabbage at the bottom of the plate, fry quickly parsnips with the mushrooms adding a little parsley, put top right. Potatoes to top leftand put pheasant on top of cabbage, bacon on pheasant then sauce over.