Serves 4

Once you've finished gnawing through your game carcasses there is still plenty of flavour left in the bones for a good soup.

Vegetable oil for frying
150-200g game meat and/or a couple of game carcasses from a roast
1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped
1 small carrot, peeled and roughly chopped
1 small leek, well rinsed, trimmed and roughly chopped
Good knob of butter
2tbsp flour
1tsp tomato purée
1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
Few sprigs of thyme
1 small bay leaf
3 litres beef stock (a good cube will do)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2tbsp sherry, port or Madeira

For the garnish

1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and cut into rough 1/3cm squares
1 small leek, cut into rough 1/3cm squares and washed
A good knob of butter
30-40g pearl barley, soaked for an hour in warm water
40-50g chanterelles or wild mushrooms, cleaned (optional)

Heat the oil in a large, heavy-based saucepan and fry the meat and vegetables over a high heat until nicely browned, stirring occasionally.

Add the butter and flour, stir well and cook for another couple of minutes. Add the tomato purée, garlic, thyme and bay leaf, and gradually add the beef stock, stirring well to avoid lumps. Bring to the boil, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, and simmer for about 11/2 hours, or until the meat is tender.

Save enough of the meat to use as a garnish and strain the soup through a sieve (not fine meshed) or colander. The soup should be rich in flavour and a nice brown colour. In a clean pan, gently cook the onion, carrot and leek in the butter for 2-3 minutes until soft, add the strained stock and pearl barley and simmer gently for about 30 minutes or until the pearl barley is tender. Add the reserved pieces of meat and mushrooms if using, check the seasoning, and pour in the sherry just before serving. Finish with finely chopped parsley.