(Vegetarians should probably look away now)
Game is a relatively recent discovery for me – one that probably coincides with the Scottish one who’s also a fan. Up until last winter my imagination didn’t stretch much beyond the occasional roast pheasant, or venison stew pack, but I’ve branched out a bit since then and have high hopes for this season.
I’m well aware of and right behind the arguments about game being lean, free range, organic and generally good for you, but for me the two big advantages are that a) thanks to a good market and now the blondes new friend it’s quite cheap (average price for a brace of pheasants that will feed 4-5 with leftovers for soup is £7.50), and b) it comes in handy portions – a pheasant or wild duck will do two people nicely, partridges, pigeons, and quails come in handy one person size. Basic I know, but I spend most my time cooking for one or two people and it makes things easy.
Monday’s recipe was a Clarissa Dickson-Wright effort (from 'The Game Cookbook') and very nice it was too:
Partridges with Tomato and Pepper (for 2)
3 tablespoons of olive oil
2 red Peppers cut into strips
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
Juice of half a lemon
A pinch of brown sugar
2 large cloves of garlic mashed with salt, salt pepper and thyme
Heat the olive oil in a heavy based frying pan, season and brown the partridges all over. Put them to one side and cook the peppers for about 10 mins turning from time to time (no brown or black bits wanted) add the garlic and continue cooking until the peppers start to soften, add all the over ingredients including the partridges and simmer in the open pan for about 25-30 mins until the sauce is thick and jammy and the birds are done.
We had this with couscous which was excellent, and the partridges were good and juicy which was a win because they can tend towards the dry (at least when I cook them...)