A Cooking Challenge!

October is the month when game is plentiful in both butchers and supermarkets. Rawlings, the Cranleigh butchers, usually offer 4 oven ready pheasant or mallards, for £10. A great offer!

For the first and main course recipes I will be using one pheasant and one mallard plus a small quantity of venison meat. Dissecting the birds can be quite daunting for some people, so I’d ask your butcher to do this for you. I am happy to demonstrate this to small groups of people, so please do contact me on my email:

GAME SOUP (Serves 4)

The Stock:
The Carcases (bones and skins) and drumsticks of the pheasant and the mallard
2 onions
2 sticks of celery,
2 carrots
4 bay leaves
2 litres of water
15g Salt

This is better if prepared the day before.
1. Place all ingredient in a suitable saucepan, bring to the boil and simmer for 90 minutes.
2. Rest it overnight and in the morning, pick all available meat from the bones and the drumsticks, chop the lot finely and do the same with the vegetable; refrigerate.

The Soup:
1½ litres of game stock
All meat and vegetables kept in the fridge
1 small onion diced small
½ stick of celery diced small
20g of butter
10mls of olive oil
1 can of chopped Italian tomatoes
2 cubes of vegetable stock
3 bay leaves
1 glass of white wine (optionable)
salt and pepper mill

1. Melt the butter in the oil
2. When hot add the celery and onions, fry for 10 minutes stirring often
3. Add the tomatoes, reduce, add the wine reduce again
4. Add 1½ litres of stock, bring it to the boil and then all other ingredients. Bring to the boil again and simmer for 40 minutes
5. Add the seasoning and serve with crusty bread.

I always add some 75g of pre-cooked rice or barley.

GAME KEBAB (Serves 4)

2 breasts and 2 boneless thighs of pheasant
2 breasts and 2 boneless thighs of mallard
100g venison meat cut in 4 pieces
4 shallots peeled and cut in 4 (make sure each quarter stays together)
30mls olive oil
20g butter
500mls of game sauce**
400g of celery, onions and carrots roughly chopped (bed of roots)
4 large skewers (preferably metal)

1. Cut the breasts in half, in a suitable non stick frying pan, heat the oil and butter
2. Fry all the meat so it is well sealed on all sides. I suggest you give the thighs and the venison extra 10 minutes cooking
3. Keep it warm while you fry the shallots. Set aside the pan for the sauce
4. Fill the skewers with the fried ingredients alternating the various meats with the shallots.
5. Place the four skewers on a bed of roots and cook in a hot oven 180ºC for 30 minutes

**The Game Sauce:
500mls of the stock
60g of finely chopped onion or shallots
1 large stick of celery finely chopped
1 small carrot grated
60mls of red wine
seasoning and mixed herbs of your choice

1. Using the frying pan set aside (after the use on the meat for the kebabs) fry the vegetables, and for at least 15 minutes stirring frequently
2. Add the wine, reduce and add the stock. Boil rapidly for 10 minutes
3. Add a suitable thickening agent to the required consistency
4. Serve with the skewers. Also a choice of potatoes and a side salad


4 large pears
120g ground almonds
100g set honey
30g soft brown sugar
a pinch of cinnamon
½ pint of double cream whipped
8 short bread biscuits

1. Wash the pears and remove the seed and husks from the bottom of the fruit
2. Make four incisions diametrically opposite on each pear from top to bottom, just enough to cut the peel
3. On a suitable bowl place the almonds, sugar, honey and cinnamon
4. With a metal spoon make a paste and fill the cavity in each pear
5. Place the pears on rice paper in an oven tray and bake them in a hot oven 175ºC for half an hour
6. Try the pears for softnes and return them to the oven if not quite ready. Let it cool
7. Transfer each pear on to a dessert plate and serve with biscuits and cream

My choice of wines for this 3 course meal: Dry Cortese d’Alba with the soup, Chanti reserve with the main course and Vin Santo with the dessert.

BUON APPETITO – Giovanni Fontebasso


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