Your last opportunity to try the taste of game

Posted on: 20 January 2010 by Mark O'haire

The game season draws to a close in February, so there are just a few weeks left to try the wonderful variety of wild game available in the UK.

Choose from delicious pheasant, partridge, hare, duck, snipe, woodcock … the list goes on. However, you can buy rabbit and pigeon, and some types of venison all year round so there’s no need to miss out.

Game is a fantastic, healthy alternative to red meats – it’s lean, low in cholesterol, versatile and so easy to cook. While the weather is still chilly, cosy casseroles, juicy roasts and warming curries all lend themselves beautifully to the rich, full flavour of game.

Check out the different cuts available in supermarkets and butchers. Most game is conveniently prepared ready for the oven – choose from diced venison which is great for slow cooked stews, pheasant breasts for quick pan-frying, and partridge which can be roasted in mere minutes.

You’ll find recipes created by top chef Mark Hix in a new booklet from Game-to-Eat, the campaign dedicated to increasing our enjoyment of game. Or log on to the new-look website for recipes, where to find game, news and much more.

To whet your appetite, try this soup-er recipe:

Pheasant, chestnut and chanterelle soup

Serves: 6–8


  • 1 oven-ready pheasant
  • 1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 small leek, roughly chopped and washed
  • A few sprigs of thyme
  • 2 litres chicken stock (fresh, or use 2 stock cubes)
  • A glass of white wine
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 40g butter
  • 30g plain flour
  • 16–18 fresh chestnuts in the shell
  • 2–3 tbsp double cream
  • 150g chanterelle mushrooms, cleaned
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley


  1. Cut the legs from the pheasant using a sharp knife, then carefully remove the breasts. Place the legs, breasts and carcass in a cooking pot with the onion, leek, thyme, chicken stock and wine. Season lightly, bring to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer gently for 10 minutes.
  2. Remove the pheasant breasts and set aside on a plate. Continue to simmer the soup for a further 20 minutes. Melt the butter in a small saucepan and stir in the flour over a low heat. Whisk the flour and butter mixture into a paste and add in pieces to the simmering soup to thicken it, then continue to simmer for another 20 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200°C/Gas 6. Score the chestnuts and place on a small baking tray. Cover with foil and bake for about 12–15 minutes, then remove to a plate and leave until cool enough to handle. Peel away the skins and cut each chestnut into two or three pieces.
  4. Strain the soup through a fine sieve into a clean saucepan and add the cream. Remove the pheasant meat from the legs and cut the breast into bite-sized pieces. Add to the soup with the chestnuts, chanterelles and chopped parsley. Simmer gently for 5 minutes. Check the seasoning and serve.

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