Owner of Gusto Pronto pubs, Brewshed brewery and Vino Gusto, Suffolk’s David Marjoram says it’s time to have fun with game
We’re always keen on our food having a seasonal, regional focus, so we simply can’t ignore the incredible game that’s abundant right now. November is possibly the best month of the game season, a time when chefs set their sights on the wild treasures that are plentiful, delicious and on our doorstep. Game birds such as pheasant and partridge, as well as venison, are at their prime, making them one of the stars of the autumnal Suffolk food stage.
So, where possible, especially on our fast-changing specials menus, we try to make sure we regularly feature local game. We love traditional ways of using game, for example in pies, stews or simply roasted game birds. However, we’ve realised in recent years that taking a fresh look at the way we treat and serve game can introduce this amazing produce to an audience that may otherwise ignore it, possibly seeing it as boring or old fashioned. We try to look at the merits of the specific meat and consider what its texture, flavour and fat content could lend itself well to.
This has led us into playing around with different ideas on the use of game, some so successful we go back to them time and time again and others less so, but you don’t know until you try. One favourite that springs to mind is crispy fried rabbit - it’s amazing what giving something a spiced crispy coating and a rich garlic dip does to get it flying off a menu. My point is don’t feel that because game may have an old-fashioned image, you can’t have fun with it. Buy some and have a play.
Karl (aka Mr Bear) Brunning, our head chef at The Cadogan in Ingham, often features a pheasant schnitzel on his menu at this time of year. It’s super tasty, quick to cook and always popular with our guests. Karl is serving this with a very autumnal mushroom and bacon sauce, but it’s equally delicious with parsley butter and a wedge of lemon. Braised red cabbage and a potato side of your choice would be perfect accompaniments.
4 skinless pheasant breasts
1 cup plain flour
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups panko breadcrumbs
Mushroom and bacon sauce:
300ml chicken stock
4 rashers of smoked streaky bacon
200g wild mushrooms
100ml double cream
100g spinach leaves
Fry mushrooms and bacon.
Deglaze the pan with Madeira and reduce by half.
Add chicken stock and reduce by half again.
Add cream, finish with butter and spinach.
Cut pheasant breast in half to make two thin fillets.
Dust in flour then dip in egg wash.
Pat the fillets onto a shallow plate of panko breadcrumbs (this will give you 8 pieces of breast covered in golden breadcrumbs).
Shallow fry in a little oil on a medium heat until golden brown.