There is a lot of controversy swelling around meat from the way animals are treated to the question of whether it gives us cancer.

One thing is certain, we are eating too much of it and farming animals like they are factory meat machines which is not good for us or them.

Now that said, Autumn and Winter months are a time where warmth and stews and the iron rich meats are appealing.  It is also the time when a very special kind of meat becomes available - one we make little use of but could use more - game.

This meat is from animals that will not tolerate being factory farmed.  Even when they are bread you will find that they roam more and deer live basically a wild life.  This has a huge affect on the quality of their meat - no growth hormones (though we don’t use those in the UK anyway), no antibiotics.

These animals are also fitter - they have more iron (especially venison), lower fat and the fat that they do carry is richer in Omega 3 fats than a poor suffering pig locked in a cement pen.  Wild meat is better for you.

Supermarkets carry game now, and most of this is farmed.  Though there are still some problems with farmed game - for example there might be strip burning to help grouse breed and that affects other bird species, the foot print is still much smaller.

So for meat eaters, open up your palate and try some different wilder more sustainable and nutritious meats this winter.


A Simple Partridge supper

Notes: game is low in fat so it burns easily and overcooks easily.  So take care, you don’t want game falling off the bone in the same way domestic meat can.  Fatty meat can stand up for longer cooking.

Ask your butcher to joint it for you.

Olive oil
1 red onion
1 apple
2 parsnips
1 partridge

Using a good olive oil, or duck fat if you have it, brown your seasoned pheasant legs till the skin is golden.  You are not trying to cook the meat, you just want to colour it.  Set aside on a plate to rest.

Add the sliced onions to the pan, and let them take some colour, add in sliced parsnips and toss through and finally the apple slices.  You want enough vegetables to form a thick “bed”.  

Dissolves a teaspoon of grain mustard into a cup of hot water or chicken stock or wine and pour over vegetables.  It should just come about halfway to the top of the veggies, you are not making soup, and sit the partridge on top.

Place in a hot over 200c (180 fan) and roast for about 15mins.  You want to keep the meat a little pink, remember it is not chicken and over cooking will make it tough.  

It is important to rest meat but super important with game birds - let the pan sit lightly covered for at least 15 mins for the meat to relax and serve.