Game on! Time for a feast from autumn's larder
Sunday 11 September 2011
Summer might be over but gourmets around the UK will be rejoicing as the game season gets under way. Until the end of January, restaurants, hotels and cookery schools around the country will celebrate the new season's bounty – both feathered and furred.
As Shaun Hill is one of the finest game cooks in the country, a trip to his Michelin-starred The Walnut Tree Inn, Abergavenny (01873 852797; thewalnuttreeinn.com), is a must for fans. This year he's serving roasted crown of mallard with the braised legs, morel mushrooms and red wine sauce; partridge with a boudin of the confit leg meat, chicken and sweetbreads; and hare with celeriac purée spiked with horseradish.
Master the art of game cookery at Leiths School of Food and Wine, London (020 8749 6400; leiths.com), where, in November, visiting guest chef Valentine Warner will offer a hands-on session revealing the secrets to preparing dishes such as roast mallard stuffed with prunes and cabbage, and pheasant with saupiquet sauce. In December, there's a venison masterclass from Mike Robinson, owner of The Pot Kiln gastropub in Berkshire.
The Sportman's Lodge at Ballathie House Hotel, Stanley, Perthshire (01250 883268; ballathiehousehotel.com), is close to some of the most prestigious sporting estates in Scotland. Shoot an array of game, including red grouse, snipe and woodcock, then repair to the hotel's elegant restaurant for carved loin of venison with rosemary and juniper, parmesan polenta, pickled carrots, glazed beetroot and hazelnut jus.
On 12 November, celebrate the game season at Denbies Wine Estate, Dorking (01306 876 616;denbies.co.uk), with chef Andrew Fraser's four-course gourmet game tasting menu. To complete the very English experience, a selection of Denbies' award-winning wines will be paired with the dishes.
The autumn menus at Kenny Atkinson at The Orangery, Rockcliffe Hall, Darlington (01325 729999; rockliffehall.com), are littered with the chef's deliciously complex take on game and will include a poached and pan-seared loin of Yorkshire hare with a braised leg, served with caramelised chicory and beetroot.
Michelin-starred chef Graham Garrett's charming restaurant The West House, Biddenden (01580 291341; thewesthouserestaurant.co.uk), housed in a 15th-century weaver's cottage, will be redolent with game, including a luxurious take on a classic Wellington – made with a slice of foie gras sandwiched between two wood pigeon breasts, encased in chicken, cep and truffle mousse, then wrapped in cabbage and flaky pastry.
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