In anticipation of A Hume’s first appearance at the GWCT Trust Scottish Game Fair from 3rd-5th July we bring you delicious ways to eat Game this summer.
Held every July, the Scottish Game Fair is a key date on the Country Calendar. Last year over 34,000 people enjoyed the celebration of fishing, shooting and traditional country sports. They tucked into delicious gamey food, learned more about wildlife conservation, engaged in many of the ‘have a go’ activities and did a spot of shopping….
And this year we’re going along too – you’ll find us at Osprey Row, Stand 13 –we’ll be able to help with the shopping bit of the day.
As the date draws near we can’t help thinking about Game – mostly about eating it – so in anticipation of a weekend’s feasting, we bring you our favourite summer Game recipes.
Flying Steak Sandwich
Most people think of Game as seasonal but both Rabbit and Wood Pigeon are fair game all year and both make for great summer eating.
Seared wild pigeon breast – also known as the Flying Steak – makes for a magnificent twist on the traditional steak sandwich. It took Jamie Oliver to awaken us to the sandwich potential of pigeon, simple, a little quirky and a recipe you can customise to your own taste.
2 red onions, peeled and finely sliced
1 teaspoon soft brown sugar
2 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves picked
4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 ciabatta loaf
2 sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves picked
4 pigeon breasts, skin on
1 whole nutmeg, for grating
2 bay leaves
English mustard, to serve
1 large handful watercress, to serve
Turn the oven to 180°C. Put the onions into a large pan on a medium low heat and add a glug of olive oil, a pinch of salt and white pepper, the sugar and the thyme leaves. Put the lid on and cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. After this time, remove the lid, turn the heat up to high and give the onions a good stir, then add the vinegar and stir again. Leave the lid off and continue to cook down until the onions are really sticky and slightly golden. Keep your eye on them.
Put the ciabatta into the hot oven. Heat a large non-stick pan on a high heat. Finely chop the rosemary leaves and put them into a mixing bowl. Add the pigeon breasts, drizzle over some olive oil, season with salt and pepper and grate over a few scrapings of nutmeg. Toss the pigeon until coated. Once the pan is really hot, add another glug of olive oil and the bay leaves and put in the breasts, skin side down so they crisp up nicely. Cook for around 2½ minutes on the skin side and 1 minute on the other side for tender and blushing medium- rare meat, which trust me is what you want – anything over that and it will be tough and boring. As you remove the pan from the heat, shake in a few good drizzles of Worcestershire sauce, then toss the meat in the juices. Move to a board and slice thinly at an angle.
Get the warm bread out of the oven, open it out with a serrated knife, put it on a nice board and spread as much mustard as you dare on one side. Put big pinches of watercress and those sticky onions down one side. Arrange the slices of pigeon around the sandwich, push the top of the sandwich down and hold it for a couple of seconds so it sucks up all those juices.
Rabbit is a wonderful, lean meat – akin to chicken’s light flavour but more fulsome and ideally suited to barbecuing. Marinate it in a sticky, garlicky, honey marinade and you’ll have even the bunny sceptics licking their lips.
Again, this recipe hails from Jamie Oliver, it’s not that we don’t like other chef’s or even our own homespun recipes but he is surprisingly good when it comes to Game. Not so much fish, but he’s definitely got a way with the creatures that scurry about our fields and woodlands.
1.2 kg rabbit, preferably wild, jointed
1 handful fresh thyme and rosemary, leaves picked
4 cloves garlic, peeled
zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon honey
4 thick slices higher-welfare pancetta
freshly ground black pepper
This recipe is written for the barbecue, but it also works really well roasted in the oven at 200ºC. If you cook it in the oven, turn the pieces of rabbit several times to ensure even colour and cooking. If you cook it on the barbecue, you’ll need 5 wooden or metal skewers (soak wooden ones before you use them). Whether barbecuing or roasting, here are your rough timings: Belly: 25 to 30 minutes. Kidneys and liver: 4 minutes. Saddle and ribs: 15 to 20 minutes. Legs and shoulder: 35 to 40 minutes.
Put your rabbit pieces into a bowl. Using a pestle and mortar, or a liquidizer, bash or whiz up the thyme and rosemary leaves to a pulp, then add the garlic cloves and bash or whiz again. Stir in 8 tablespoons of olive oil, the lemon zest and juice and the honey, and pour this over the rabbit. Put the meat to one side and let it come to room temperature while you light your barbecue.
Next get a couple of sprigs of fresh thyme and tie them together like a little brush. Each time you turn the meat, dab it with a little of the marinade to give you a lovely encrusted layer of flavour.
Keeping the marinade to one side, remove the pieces of meat and season with salt and pepper. Sandwich the pancetta between the 2 pieces of belly using 3 skewers. Put the legs and shoulder on the barbecue. When they’ve been cooking for 10 minutes, put the belly on. After another 10 minutes put the saddle and ribs on. Make sure you turn the meat over every so often. Look after it by controlling the temperature and basting it continuously with the marinade. Cut three-quarters of the way through each kidney and open them out like a book. Cut the liver into 4 pieces and push one piece on to each remaining skewer, followed by a kidney and more liver.
When all the pieces of meat are beautifully cooked, add your skewered bits of kidney and liver on to the barbecue and cook until golden, along with your 2 remaining slices of pancetta. After a few minutes, when the pancetta is browned, put it on top of the meat at the cooler end of the Barbie.
You can serve the rabbit with any white beans, or roast potatoes, or grilled vegetables, or different salads – it really depends on how you feel and what the weather’s like. Just put a big bowl of your chosen accompaniment in the middle of the table and serve all the meat on a plate so everyone can help themselves.
If you enjoyed this post and want to learn more/eat more Game, then get along to the GWT Scottish Game Fair and spread the word using the ‘like’ and ‘share’ social buttons.