Since attending the pheasant masterclass at Jamie Oliver HQ a few weeks ago, I’ve been making more of an effort to look out for and try British game – wild, organic and in season at the moment. Game can be a little bit daunting if you are new to it. Ordinarily, if you eat any meat at all, you are most likely to perhaps eat chicken, lamb, beef or pork. Since the horsemeat scandal earlier on this year, some of you may even be eating less meat altogether, or perhaps you are being a little more cautious about the meat that you buy or taking extra steps to find out where it comes from. Searching around for game since the masterclass, I have been surprised to learn that game can be cheaper than buying organic chicken, for example. You can pick up a whole pheasant for around £5.00, or a stuffed, two-bird roast at around £13.95, which easily fed two of us with plenty of leftovers for a pheasant lasagne tonight. I really enjoyed learning about how to cook game during the evening of the pheasant masterclass and had some very special tutors, too!
Whilst tweeting during the evening of the pheasant masterclass, lots of game eaters and game suppliers took the time to join in, reply or say hello. The Wild Meat Company were keen to join in with the conversation and very kindly offered to send me a Pigeon & Pheasant Ballotine / Two Bird Roast – for me to try at home. As a game novice, this was a perfect introduction to cooking game at home. The meat was de-boned and ready to roast and within an hour we were tucking into two very tasty birds, with minimum effort.
Aside from the pheasant masterclass, I am reminded that my last taste of game was during a foraging walk and banquet, led by a local company called Woodland Ways with The Foragers at The Verulam Arms in St Albans. During the post-walk banquet I was introduced to some ‘Southern-fried’ squirrel and game sausage rolls – which just goes to show that I am perhaps braver than I think when it comes to trying something new!
If you don’t have a reliable, local game supplier, or would like to simply ensure that you get the best quality, I can recommend taking a look at some of the offerings by The Wild Meat Company, all sourced from neighboring farms and estate in East Anglia. They have party and family-sized two or three bird roasts, squirrel, venison, wild boar or wild rabbit among lots of other interesting things. You can also buy organic and free-range poultry in time for Christmas if you’re very quick and get your order in by 8th December 2013.
For some ideas on how to cook game, you may also like to have a look at the game section of the Jamie Oliver.com website.
If you would like to take part in a wild game butchery masterclass, you could also take a look at some of the courses run by Food Safari in conjunction with Robert Gooch and Ray Kent of the Wild Meat Company, usually held at the British Larder in Suffolk.
With many thanks to The Wild Meat Company for sending me the two bird roast to sample.
If you have any questions, you can tweet The Wild Meat Company on Twitter – @WildMeatCompany
Are you a big fan of wild meat or game? Perhaps you’ve got some tips or recipe ideas you can share in the comments box below?