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  • Sue

Glorious Game!

The grouse season has started and autumn is just around the corner. As temperatures cool and days get shorter, warm hearty meals are called for and what better ingredient than game.

It’s free-range, low in fat and cholesterol, has a low carbon footprint, no added hormones or other nasties and is super tasty. It’s no wonder game continues to grow in popularity. If you’ve never cooked it or are stuck for recipe ideas, here are some to get you started – the Pheasant Carbonara is a personal favourite. There are also numerous websites and publications that provide some amazing game recipes – some of which are listed at the bottom of this blog. Enjoy!

Pheasant Carbonara

Ingredients (serves 4)

1 x pack spaghetti 1 x tbsp olive oil 1 x garlic clove, halved 100g x pack bacon lardons 2 x pheasant breast, cut into strips 2 x eggs 100g x Grana Padano, finely grated, plus extra to serve 1 x tbsp butter


  1. Cook the spaghetti following pack instructions.

  2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the garlic and bacon lardons until crisp.

  3. Add the pheasant strips and fry briefly until it is just cooked through, pheasant is slightly pink compared to chicken.

  4. Fish out the garlic clove and discard it.

  5. Beat the eggs with the grana padano and some black pepper.

  6. Add a couple of tablespoons of pasta water to the bacon pan along with the butter, then drain the pasta and add it to the pan.

  7. Pour in the egg mixture, take the pan off the heat and toss together so the egg cooks in the heat of the pasta.

  8. Divide between four warm bowls and top with more cheese.

Recipe from Eat Wild

Venison Cottage Pie topped with Cheesy Potato Mash

Ingredients (serves 4)

1 tbsp olive oil

1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped

3 rashers smoky bacon, finely chopped

2 carrots, peeled and grated

520g wild minced venison

2 cloves garlic, crushed

2 tbsp tomato puree

250ml beef stock

100ml red wine

½ tsp dried thyme

½ tsp dried rosemary

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

800-900g potatoes peeled and cut into large dice

2-3 tbsp milk

50g butter

75g Cheddar cheese, grated

Salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Heat the oil in a large pan, add the onion and fry until lightly golden.

  2. Add the bacon, fry for 3-4 minutes until lightly browned and add the grated carrot. Cook for a further 2 minutes.

  3. Remove from the pan, add a little more oil and fry the minced venison until lightly browned.

  4. Return the bacon and vegetables to the pan and add the garlic, tomato puree, beef stock, wine and herbs and seasoning.

  5. Cover and cook over a medium heat for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the lid for the last 10 minutes to reduce the liquid if you wish.

  6. Preheat the oven to 180°C, gas 4.

  7. Put the potatoes in salted water, cover and cook for 10-15 minutes until soft. Drain well and return to the pan. Add the milk and butter, heat through and season. Mash until smooth.

  8. Stir in ¾ of the grated cheese.

  9. Put the cooked mince into an ovenproof dish and top with the mashed potato. Level the top and scatter with the remaining grated cheese.

  10. Place in the oven for 20-25 minutes until the potato is golden brown and the mince bubbles up at the edges of the dish.

Recipe from Holme Farmed Venison

Pan-Fried Grouse with Cranberry and Mushrooms

Ingredients (serves 2)

4 grouse breasts A small knob of butter (about 1 tsp) A glug of olive oil 1 tbsp cranberry sauce 6 rashers pancetta 300g chestnut mushrooms, stalks removed 2 echalion shallots, finely sliced 3 tbsp creme fraiche 2 tsp thyme leaves 1 tbsp dry sherry Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Wrap each grouse breast in 1 rasher of pancetta. Chop the remaining two rashers of pancetta and set aside.

  2. Heat the oil and butter in a pan and fry the grouse breasts for 1.5 – 2min each side. Remove and set aside.

  3. Add the shallot and the remaining pancetta to the pan and cook until the shallot is soft.

  4. Add the mushrooms and thyme and cook until the mushrooms are soft and glossy.

  5. Add the sherry and cook for a couple of minutes until reduced.

  6. Stir in the cranberry sauce.

  7. Add the crème fraiche and salt and pepper. Stir and heat through.

  8. Serve the grouse breasts on top of the mushroom mix with buttered sourdough toast or bread of your choice.

Recipe from Wild and Game

Sauté of Pigeon Breast with Root Vegetables


8 pigeon breasts

2 tbsp olive oil

1 clove garlic, crushed

4 sprigs thyme

3 tbsp red wine

1 small celeriac

1 small swede

2 parsnips

8 baby onions

4 carrots

50g butter

1 sprig rosemary

1 bay leaf

300 ml red wine

1 tsp tomato puree

500 ml stock


  1. Marinade the pigeon breasts in oil, garlic, thyme, red wine and black pepper.

  2. Peel vegetables and cut into large dice.

  3. Heat butter and add all the vegetables and herbs; cook for about 10 minutes until colouring.

  4. Meanwhile boil the red wine hard to reduce to 100ml.

  5. Add wine, stock and tomato puree to the vegetables and simmer uncovered until the vegetables are tender and the liquid well reduced. Check the seasoning.

  6. Fry the pigeon breasts; leave to rest, carve and serve laid in slices on top of the braised vegetables.

Recipe from Countryside Alliance

Rich Rabbit Stew

Ingredients (serves 3-4)

1 rabbit

4oz streaky bacon

18 button onions

2oz butter

1 ½ oz flour

1 pint good stock

Bouquet garni

2 cloves

1 glass claret (optional)


  1. Wash, dry and joint the rabbit, putting the liver aside.

  2. Dice the bacon, peel the onions

  3. Melt the butter in a large saucepan, fry onions and bacon until brown, then lift out.

  4. Fry rabbit lightly, sprinkle in flour and continue frying until well browned.

  5. Replace onions and bacon, add hot stock, bouquet garni, cloves and season. Cover and stew gently until rabbit is tender – about 1 ¼ hr.

  6. About 15 min. before serving, add claret if using, put in liver (washed and cut into small pieces) and finish cooking.

  7. Pile the rabbit on a hot dish, strain the sauce over and garnish with bacon dice and onions.

Recipe from my grandmother’s 1960 edition of Mrs Beeton’s Cookery and Household Management.

Find more glorious recipes for game on these websites:

Holme Farmed Venison

The Wild Meat Company

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