Eastwoods Guide to Game
You know autumn has truly arrived when game meats start to come in...
Full of rich and complex flavours, game meats are lean and nutritious. Our game comes from as close to home as possible, making it local and sustainable.
People are sometimes put off by the “high” flavour traditionally associated with longer hanging of these meats but they don’t have to be walking out the door for you to enjoy them -we tend to stock ours on the milder side. The flavours can sit on a scale from very strong to relatively mild. The taste is heavily influenced by the locale that the animal or bird lived in and so varies from region to region and the strength of the flavour depends on how long the meat has been hung for.
Seasonal meats like game are great for mixing up your workaday dinners – try pan-frying partridge or pigeon breasts where you would usually eat steak, chops or chicken breasts, or try stewing rabbit in a curry or ragu sauce.
You do need to cook these leaner meats properly to prevent them from drying out: we recommend either flash-frying or low and slow. Err on the side of caution and serve it pink rather than risk drying it out, and allow the meat to rest before serving to help keep it tender. If in doubt, ask one of our butchers! Adding bacon is a time-honoured cooking technique that will work with any lean meat to keep your game from drying out too much, especially in the oven. Marinades also work well to keep the meat tender.
Being highly seasonal means that game meats pair well with what grows around the same time of year, so autumn fruits, herbs and root vegetables and cruciferous vegetables like kale and broccoli all make suitable accompaniments.
Take a look at our current selection of game here.
During game season we typically stock:
Mallard (Gade Valley)
We don’t get many of these in and they sell very quickly! It is more strongly flavoured that farmed duck and less fatty. We recommend roasting them whole. One mallard will serve two people.
Partridge (Gade Valley)
Delicately flavoured and sweet. We recommend roasting quickly to get the best out of it and it can be stuffed before cooking. Each bird will feed one.
Pheasant (Gade Valley)
We sell this classic game bird whole and recommend cooking it either whole and wrapped in bacon to preserve the moisture in the meat, or quartered and casseroled. It has a sweet, earthy flavour and isn’t overpoweringly gamey. One pheasant will feed two people.
Pigeon (Gade Valley)
We sell our pigeons whole. They have a strong flavour and a little goes a very long way! Lean and iron-rich. We would recommend searing them on the hob until golden brown and finishing in the oven.
Each pigeon will feed one.
Rabbit (South Downs)
Tasty and abundant, very low in fat. People sometimes compare it to chicken but wild rabbit has a stronger flavour and slightly darker meat. Smaller, younger rabbits are best roasted quickly on the bone, and larger, older ones suit stewing very well and pair well with bacon and chorizo.
Rich in flavour, high in iron and leaner than chicken. Pair with classic autumnal flavours like redcurrant and juniper, autumn fruits and rich spices like pepper, cloves and juniper.
Venison is an incredibly versatile meat that is used to make the same range of products that you would associate with lamb or beef – as well as beautiful haunch roasts, you can eat it as pan-fried steaks, mince, burgers, sausages and stewing steak. Neck, shoulder and shank all make great slow-cooking cuts.