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Why you should try game meat

PUBLISHED: 00:00 07 September 2015

Roast grouse and partridge

Roast grouse and partridge


Game isn’t everyone’s first choice but it is one of the healthiest and is quick to prepare, says chef and entrepreneur Michael Ibbotson. Photographs by Andy Bulmer

‘I’ve always been about field to fork when it comes to food. I’ve always wanted to know where my food has come from and there is no better place than Yorkshire for the best fresh produce, it’s the best in the UK,’ says Michael Ibbotson as he puts on an apron and begins to move about the kitchen looking for pans and plates.

‘Not only do we have the best lamb and beef but, here on our doorstep, is some of the finest game. I know and understand game is not everyone’s first choice. People immediately think its taste is too gamey – I can’t think of another word – maybe its taste is too wild and game is too difficult or complicated to prepare and cook.

‘I want to champion good food and my attitude is that good food shouldn’t be complicated – preparing food should be simple, with simple ingredients and simple methods of cooking.

‘And cooking game today doesn’t have to be complicated – you can flash fry venison steaks in a pan, it takes a few minutes and venison is very good for you. It doesn’t send your cholesterol sky high.’

Michael is preparing to demonstrate just how simple it is to make a hearty grouse and partridge pie for the family and even some pheasant nuggets ideal for younger people and their friends. He has help today from Dean Wade senior chef with the Provenance Inns Group of which Michael is a co-director with Chris Blundell. It was from Chris’s kitchen gardens at Mount St John at Felixkirk near Thirsk that Michael picked the vegetables for the day’s cooking. The gardens are a very short distance from the Carpenters Arms, an award-winning inn that is part of the Provenance Inns group and where a gourmet grouse dinner was held to mark the beginning of the game season .

‘There is more opportunity and it’s easier to try game these days,’ says Michael as he prepares the vegetables to add to the pie filling. ‘Venison steaks are available in supermarkets now as well as oven-ready partridge and pheasant. It’s not all about braces of birds hanging from hooks outside a butcher’s shop any more. Saying that, I am sure there are butchers who will prepare and who do prepare game ready to cook for you.

‘Not only is game good for you in its own right but it adds variety to your diet too which is also important. It’s quick to cook and you can use it in so many ways – here, try these pheasant nuggets.’

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