Game carcasses are perfect for making a hearty soup – if you're lucky you might have a couple already stored in the freezer.
The carcasses from 4 game birds or a frozen game bird or two, chopped into 4 or 5 pieces
1 small onion, peeled, halved and roughly chopped
1 medium carrot, peeled and roughly chopped
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
A couple of sprigs of thyme
4 juniper berries
1 tbsp vegetable oil
A good knob of butter
1tsp tomato purée
2 litres chicken stock
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
60g spelt, soaked for a couple hours in cold water
1 small leek, trimmed, cut into rough 1cm squares and washed
1 small carrot, peeled and cut into rough cm dice
1 stick of celery, peeled if necessary and cut into cm dice
To make the stock, heat the vegetable oil in a large, heavy-based saucepan and fry the game carcasses, onion, carrot and garlic on a high heat for 3-4 minutes, stirring every so often until lightly coloured. Add the thyme, juniper, butter and flour; stir well for a minute; add the tomato purée.
Stir in the chicken stock, bring to the boil and simmer for an hour. Strain the soup through a fine-meshed sieve into a clean saucepan, reserving the bits of meat from the carcass.
Add the spelt and simmer for about 20 minutes, add the other veg; simmer for 10 minutes. Remove as many bits of meat from the game carcass as possible and add to the soup. Simmer for a few minutes, re-season and serve.