Game, it’s fair to say, isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, which is presumably one of the reasons for British Game Week.
In fact, Game is a bit like marmite, you either love it, or you hate it – there’s never any middle ground.
I was at a restaurant with someone a few years ago who loves game and she ordered pheasant. It arrived at the table (not on its own two legs of course) looking lovely and she immediately tucked in.
A few seconds later, her face turned to a grimace and she began spitting out pieces of lead shot. Yes, the pheasant was so fresh it had literally just been gunned down and brought to the restaurant.
If you have never eaten game before, don’t be too shocked as this is not an uncommon occurrence, but you can see why it would put people off. My dining partner loved her dish by the way, that is once she checked she still had all her teeth.
Interestingly, Waitrose announced that from the 2019-20 season, which is now well underway, it will begin phasing out the use of lead shot for its game ((according to the Food Standards Agency, eating lead-shot game meat on a frequent basis can expose you to potentially harmful levels of lead) and game in general can now be found in more supermarkets and more restaurant menus.
To use Waitrose as an example again, their sales of venison have gone up by over 60% compared to last year.
So, why is this? Well it could be because of stats from the likes of the British Game Alliance which reveal that pheasant contains approximately a third more protein than chicken and has a third less cholesterol. Game is lower in calories, and higher in minerals such as selenium. Please do take all this with a pinch of lead, I mean salt, though.
I think the main reason though is the way game is now being cooked and presented. How about tandoori partridge, grouse kofta kebabs or BBC pulled pheasant pizzas? Yes, these all exist and to be fair, sound amazing.
From a chef’s perspective, cooking with game is a wonderful thing. There’s so much variety, ingredients and taste and flavour combinations, so you will never see us turning our noses up at it. After all, we love marmite too!
Here’s this week’s recipe:
Roasted quail curry
- 2 quail ( skin removed)
- 1 onion
- 1 tomato
- 1 tbsp ginger garlic paste
- 1 tbsp garam masala
- 1 tbsp curry powder
- 1 tbsp red chilli powder
- 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tsp fennel seed powder
- 1 tsp salt
- Bunch of coriander
- 2 cups of water
- Chop onion, tomato and coriander finely.
- Heat oil in pan on medium heat. Add whole garam masala and ginger garlic paste, cook gently for a minute or two
- Add onions and cool until they become translucent.
- Add tomato, coriander, spice powders and salt
- Add quail and water. Cook gently for an hour or longer if on a low heat
- Garnish with more coriander and serve with rice