Here are the three game recipes I cooked at Penshurst Farmers Market today with the superb meat from regular stallholder at the market, Kieron’s Game. Sadly the weather wasn’t on our side so rain stopped play a little early but these three raised sprits amongst market visitors despite the deluge and are favourites that I will be cooking again and again for family and friends this winter
Pheasant breast fillets are one of the most useful cuts – lean, flavoursome and so simple to cook. This is one of my favourite ways to cook them, as the slightly gamey flavour of the meat is perfectly complemented by the addition of spices. It’s quick, easy and healthy too so what’s not to like! This version isn’t overly hot so is suitable for the whole family – use more chilli for a more fiery finish. I also like to marinate 4 breasts in one go when cooking for two then freeze two of them in the marinade for an easy meal later in the month
Serves 4/Prep 10 minutes plus marinating time overnight /Cook 10 minutes
4 boned pheasant breasts, skinned
2 tbsp each natural yogurt and mango chutney
flat bread, fresh coriander and lime wedges to serve
For the tikka marinade
2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 small piece fresh root ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
1 red chilli, seeded and chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp garam masala
1 tsp smoked paprika
juice of 1 small lemon
1 tbsp natural yogurt
½ tsp salt
½ tsp ground black pepper
1 Blitz together the marinade ingredients in a blender or processor and pour into a large resealable plastic bag. Add the pheasant and massage with the marinade to coat each piece thoroughly. Ideally leave overnight in the fridge or for at least a couple of hours. for the spices to really settle into the meat.
2 The next day preheat the oven to 200ºC gas mark 6. Transfer the pheasant to a shallow roasting tin with the marinade, cover with buttered foil and cook for 15 minutes then remove the foil and cook for a further 5 minutes until golden and cooked through. You can also cook the pheasant breasts on a lightly oiled griddle for 5 – 8 minutes turning once until browned and cooked through. Pheasant can be served slightly pink at the centre to avoid it drying out too much.
3 Cut the pheasant into thick strips and serve in warmed flat bread, sprinkled with lime juice and fresh coriander and a dollop of the thick yogurt mixed with the mango chutney.
Venison steaks with quick béarnaise sauce
Great quality produce such as the wonderful venison steak I buy from local game dealer Kieron at Penshurst Farmers Market every month needs only the simplest cooking. This recipe couldnt be easier to prepare as you can make the béarnaise sauce ahead and chill it till you need it. I make it using my trusty stick blender
Serve 2 Preparation 10 minutes Cook 10–12 minutes
1 tsp black peppercorns, coarsely ground (optional)
1 tbsp Pure Kent cold pressed rapeseed oil
2 venison fillet steaks, about 150g each
a bunch of watercress to serve
For the béarnaise sauce:
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
6 black peppercorns
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 large free-range egg yolk
50g unsalted butter
grated rind and juice of ½ small lemon
1 Press the crushed pepper onto both sides of the steaks. Heat the oil in a ridged griddle pan or non-stick frying pan and cook the steaks on both sides, turning once, for 4–6 minutes for rare, 8–10 minutes for medium and 10–12 minutes for well done. Remove from the pan and leave to stand in a warm place for at least 5 minutes for the juices to settle.
2 Prepare the béarnaise sauce. Place the vinegar in a small pan with the peppercorns, shallot and 2 tablespoons water. Bring to the boil and simmer until the vinegar is reduced to 1 tablespoon.
3 Strain the reduced vinegar onto the egg yolk and blend briefly to mix. Heat the butter in a small pan until bubbling but not browned. With the blender running, pour the hot butter on the egg yolks in a steady stream. The sauce should be thick and creamy. Stir in the lemon rind and the juice, season to taste and serve with the steak. All I need with this is thin cut chips and a watercress salad.
This is an edited version of the recipe I created for The WI Cookbook:The First 100 Years
Easy wild boar and pheasant pie with quail’s eggs
This simple pie couldn’t be easier to put together using sausages and pheasant breasts fillets and quail’s eggs from Jennie at Far Acre Farm (I also buy my eggs from her every market as a mixed tray lasts me the full month until the next one). It makes a great family supper dish served with baked potatoes and baked beans or veg, or take wedges on a winter picnic or packed lunch. It is also useful to have in the freezer over Christmas. I like to use the same apricot and wild boar sausagemeat filling for sausage rolls, using ready-made sheets of all-butter puff pastry for speed to go with Christmas drinks
Serves 6 -8 /Preparation 20 minutes /Cook 50 – 60 minutes
12 quail’s eggs
2 sheets all butter shortcrust pastry, thawed
500g Kieron’s Game wild boar and apple or venison sausages
50g soft apricots, snipped into pieces
2/3 boned pheasant breasts, skinned (about 300g)
3 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon
salt and freshly ground black pepper
beaten egg to glaze.
1 Preheat the oven to 200ºC gas mark 6. Put the quail’s eggs in a pan of cold water, bring to the boil and cook for 3 minutes. Drain, run under cold water to cool then peel. Take the skins from the sausages and mix the sausage meat with the snipped apricots.
2 Use one sheet of the pastry to line an oblong 27 x 17cm baking tin or dish. Spread the sausagemeat over the base. Arrange the quail’s eggs on top. Cut the pheasant breasts into thin strips and toss with seasoning and the chopped tarragon. Arrange over the eggs. Brush the pastry edges with water. Use the other sheet of pastry to cover the top, tucking the ends in to completely contain the filling. Pinch the edges together to seal.
3 Brush the pie with a little egg and make two steam holes with a knife. Place the pie on a preheated baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes then reduce the heat to 180C gas mark 4 for a further 30 – 40 minutes until the filling is cooked through. Serve warm or leave to cool then chill until ready to serve. Serve cut into wedges with Sugar and Spice’s Chilli Jelly or a locally-made chutney and a watercress and radish salad.