Three game recipes from Steve Groves, head chef at Roux at Parliament Square

Rich and indulgent, these game recipes from Steve Groves are everything you could want from an autumnal feast

Friday 20 October 2017 13:43

Wood pigeon with beetroot, red chicory, blackberries and buckwheat

Serves 4

For the pigeon

4 x skinless wood pigeon crowns
1tbsp pomace oil
50g unsalted butter
1 clove garlic 
3 thyme sprigs

Pre heat oven to 180C. Heat a frying pan over a high heat, add the oil and heat until just starting to smoke. Season the pigeon crowns with some salt and add to the frying pan, colour all over. Reduce the heat and allow pan to cool slightly before adding the butter, thyme and garlic, when the butter is foaming, spoon some over the crowns, ensure the crowns are bone side down and place in the oven for four minutes. Remove from the oven and take the crowns out of the pan, rest in a warm place, pour the butter over the pigeon. Keep the pan for the sauce but be careful of the hot handle.

Note – If you do not have an oven proof handle on your frying pan transfer to a roasting dish for the oven part of the recipe.

For the sauce

80ml ruby port
400ml white chicken stock (not from concentrate)
20g unsalted butter, cold

Place the pan from roasting the pigeon over a high heat and add the port to deglaze the pan, boil the port until almost entirely evaporated, add the chicken stock and boil until a coating consistency is achieved. Test by seeing if it lightly coats a spoon. While still on the heat stir in the butter to give the sauce a glossy finish.

Note – It is important to use a fresh stock as the natural gelatin in it will give the sauce body. A stock from concentrate will also result in a salty sauce. Fresh stocks are available from most supermarkets or some quality butchers.

For the baby beetroot

12 baby beetroot
1tbsp red wine vinegar
4 thyme sprigs
1tsp salt

Clean the beetroot then add to a saucepan, cover with cold water and all of the other ingredients. Bring to the boil and simmer for about 10-15 minutes or until the beetroot is tender, check with the tip of a small knife. Allow to cool slightly in the cooking liquid. Once cool enough to handle peel away the skins, if they’re cooked properly the skins should slide off quite easily.

To finish

12 blackberries, cut in half crosswise
1 red chicory
A handful of bulls blood lettuce
30g toasted buckwheat
30g toasted sunflower seeds

Remove the breasts from the pigeon crowns and arrange on the plate. Warm the beetroot and blackberries in the sauce and spoon onto the plate, make sure you spoon some sauce over the breasts. Sprinkle the buckwheat and sunflower seeds over the breasts. Break the chicory down into individual leaves, large ones cut in half. Arrange the chicory and bulls blood on the plate and serve.

Venison cobbler

Serves 6-8

For the venison casserole

1kg venison haunch or shoulder, diced
1 cup plain flour, seasoned with table salt
2tbsp light olive oil
25g unsalted butter
2 carrots, peeled and diced
2 onions, peeled and diced
2 sticks of celery, peeled and diced
1 celeriac, peeled and diced
500ml red wine
1tbsp redcurrant jelly
1tsp juniper berries
1 star anise
1tsp black peppercorns
2 sprigs thyme
2 bay leaves

500ml beef stock

Cheese scones

450g self raising flour
115g unsalted butter
Pinch of salt
Pinch of cayenne pepper
230g mature cheddar, grated
170ml whole milk

Pre heat oven to 160C. Keep 1tbsp of the flour aside and use the rest to lightly coat the venison – shake off any excess. Heat a casserole dish over a medium-high heat and heat half of the olive oil in this until just about smoking, colour half of the venison then remove from the pan. Repeat the process with the other half of the venison.

Turn the heat to medium and add the butter to the pan followed by the vegetables, cook until lightly coloured then pull away from the heat and add the remaining flour. Stir well to absorb all of the fat in the pan. Add the red wine slowly so that you avoid getting floury lumps then turn up the heat and reduce by two thirds. Add the redcurrant jelly and beef stock and bring to the boil.

In a small piece of muslin cloth, tie up the juniper, star anise, peppercorns, bay leaves and thyme, drop that into the casserole. Cover with a lid or foil and transfer to the oven for 1½ hours or until the meat is tender. While that is cooking move on to the cheese scone topping. Mix the flour with the salt and cayenne, rub in the butter then mix in the cheese. Add the milk gradually until you have a soft dough, do not overmix. Roll out on floured surface to around 2cm thick and cut out in 3-4cm discs. Once the venison is cooked arrange the scones on top and brush with a little beaten egg or milk. Cook for a further 20 minutes.

Potted rabbit with whole grain mustard, grapes and verjus

Serves 6-8

1 wild rabbit, jointed
2tbsp pomace oil
1 pig’s trotter, split
1 carrot, peeled
1 onion, peeled and halved through the root
1 stick of celery
1 leek, washed
2 sprigs thyme
2 bay leaves
200ml verjus
100g smoked bacon, preferably a whole piece but slices are fine
1l chicken stock
1tbsp wholegrain mustard
1tbsp chopped parsley
1tsp chopped tarragon

Verjus jelly

20 seedless red grapes, thinly sliced
150ml verjus
15g caster sugar
2 gelatin leaves

Pre heat oven to 120C. Season the rabbit with some salt. Heat the oil in a large wide pan over a medium to high heat. Colour the rabbit lightly all over, remove from the pan. Add the carrot, onion, celery and leek, colour lightly then add the verjus, reduce by half.

Add the pig’s trotter, thyme, bay leaves, bacon, stock and rabbit. Bring to the boil, cover with a lid or foil and place in the oven for 1½-2 hours or until very tender and easily coming away from the bones. (If you use a farmed rabbit cooking time will be less). Once cooked allow the rabbit to cool in the liquid until you are able to handle it, at this point skim any fat from the top then remove the rabbit from the liquid. Strain the liquid through a sieve and put back over a high heat to reduce by half.

Pick the rabbit meat from the bones ensuring that there are no bone fragments or shot present. Mix the cooking liquid, mustard and herbs into the meat and season with salt and pepper. Divide into individual serving dishes or alternatively do one large dish for sharing. Allow to set in the fridge for a couple of hours before adding the jelly. Soak the gelatin leaves in cold water until soft.

Warm the verjus with the sugar then squeeze out any excess water from the gelatin and add to the verjus. Mix well and make sure that the gelatin has completely melted. Allow to cool slightly at room temperature. Arrange the grape slices over the top of the rabbit mixture, pour over the jelly mixture so that the grape slices are just covered. Return to the fridge and allow to set overnight. Leave at room temperature for half an hour before serving.

Steve Groves is head chef at Roux at Parliament Square and a winner of MasterChef: The Professionals

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