ANDREW PERN, owner and chef at the Star Inn, Harome, cooks up some winter warmers, perfect to beat the January blues
WE seem to have hardly caught our breath after a very busy Christmas and New Year at The Star, including the arrival of Freddie, the newest member of the ‘team’ weighing in at 9lb 9½ on December 4, just in time for the staff Christmas party.
We now have the end of the main shooting season fast approaching, so it is time to make the most of all of the game available on our menus while we can.
Before we know it, it’ll have gone till the glorious grouse appears again in the mid-August sunshine – anyone remember that?
My first recipe this month would be a good ‘winter warmer’ after a bracing walk on the moors – or you could even take it out shooting.
It’s a consommé really, in everything but name, a deep mahoganycoloured soup, flavoured with Madeira and served piping hot with the little peppery dumplings bobbing around in it.
Imagine sitting on the moors overlooking the vastness of the heather, the wind blowing away the cobwebs, and sipping some of this characterbuilding ‘soup’ from a flask.
The second recipe is a great way with pheasant. Roast pheasant was one of the first dishes I remember from childhood.
It was a proper meal, something different from the norm, although it was later to become the norm. My dad had a rough shoot on the farm, thus we had a garage and a freezer full of pheasants.
The January king cabbage is cooked basically in a vinegar concoction, which blends with the bright red continental-style ‘hot dog’ sausage and is finished with the juniper hollandaise. It’s a heavenly combination.
Game Tea with Sage and Onion Dumplings
2kg game carcasses
2 large onions, roughly chopped
6 carrots, roughly chopped
1 head celery, roughly chopped
2 leeks, roughly chopped
10 pink peppercorns
A little rapeseed oil
5 ltrs water to cover
For the dumplings:
30g suet, minced
A pinch of garden sage, chopped
70g plain flour
A little salt
10g onion, finely diced
Roast the game bones at 180°C/Gas Mark 4 until golden brown. Heat the oil in a large pan, add all of the chopped vegetables and cook until beginning to colour.
Deglaze the pan with the sherry and Madeira, then add the roasted bones and cover with water. Add the peppercorns and bayleaves, then simmer for three hours.
Pass through a sieve lined with muslin, repeating as necessary to remove the solids. Season to taste and reheat as necessary.
To make the dumplings, combine all of the ingredients together and roll into 2cm balls. Poach in the game tea for 20 minutes.
Harome-shot Pheasant with January King ‘Choucroute’, Strasbourg Sausage and Juniper Hollandaise
2 oven-ready pheasants, each covered with a rasher of bacon
2 Strasbourg sausages, cut in half longways
A glass of red wine
For the hollandaise:
3 egg yolks
100ml white wine vinegar
5 black peppercorns
1 shallot, chopped
4 juniper berries, crushed
For the choucroute:
1 January king cabbage
2 juniper berries, crushed
200ml white wine vinegar, reduced by a third
1 shallot, sliced
Preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas Mark 4. Roast the pheasants for about 25mins, then leave to rest.
To make the hollandaise, take the egg yolks and place in a glass bowl.
Bring 50ml of the white wine vinegar to the boil with the bayleaf, black peppercorns and one chopped shallot added, and reduce by half.
Melt the butter in a pan to clarify.
Place the glass bowl with the egg yolks over a pan of boiling water and whisk. Add the vinegar reduction and some of the crushed juniper berries, then slowly add the butter, whisking until the sauce thickens.
Slice the cabbage and blanch in boiling water for a minute. Refresh in ice-cooled water to retain its colour. Make a second vinegar reduction, adding a little sugar to take the sharpness away.
Place the cabbage in a bowl with a little sliced shallot. Season, then pour the hot vinegar over the cabbage with the rest of the juniper.
Portion the pheasant with a little breast and thigh per person. Fry the halves of sausage in the tray used for roasting the pheasants and keep warm.
Add a glass of red wine to deglaze the tray and make a ‘gravy’. Place the cabbage onto a warm plate with the pheasant, then the sausage on top.
Pour over a little of the roasting juices and wine. The hollandaise can be used to finish or can be served separately.
Wishing you health, wealth and happiness in 2013. Happy New Year.
• Recipes are taken from Loose Birds and Game by Andrew Pern, available from The Star Inn Corner Shop and all good booksellers.