Partner, Master Butcher
Shop Manager, Master Butcher
Game is a great meat packed full of natural flavours, but sadly it’s often overlooked because some people are unsure of how to prepare and cook it.
Don’t fret, that’s what your friendly local butcher is here for!
Not only can we get hold of delicious local game, we can also advise you on how to get it to the plate and make it taste delicious!
The great thing about game is that it’s all around us, which makes it very sustainable, particularly in a big rural county like Norfolk where edible game birds and mammals are plentiful.
We buy in venison from the deer parks at Holkham and Houghton. Most of it is fallow deer but we can also source red deer and muntjac.
You can buy fresh venison at my shops all year round but in my opinion venison is best eaten in the winter, especially when there’s snow on the ground – it just seems to have extra flavour.
Like most game venison is very low in cholesterol and highly nutritious, so as well as tasting delicious it’s also good for you. How about that for a win-win situation?
We buy pheasants from local farms and I think they’re best in November when they’re fully-feathered and carrying more breast meat. Some people think the hen birds are more tender.
They can still be eaten in September and October but they’re harder to pluck at those times due to new feather growth.
Pheasant has a great flavour and is particularly nice stir-fried. You should try it! Some people say it can be dry but if that bothers you just serve it with a sauce – any decent celebrity chef will have a recipe you can copy.
Partridges come into season on the 1st September and are best at the end of that month and in early October when they’re lovely and moist.
Most of the partridges we supply are of the French (or Red-legged) variety as our so-called Common or English partridges aren’t living up to their name at the moment sadly.
Ducks can be obtained during the wildfowl season which runs from 1st September until the end of January.
Our birds are always wild and are shot on flight ponds at local farms with steel shot. Teal, wigeon and mallard are the three most common varieties to be found in our shops.
Hares are in season from 1st August to 28th February and like higher flat land, so they’re plentiful at the old aerodromes which can be found across Norfolk.
It’s an acquired taste and like most game it has the Marmite factor – you’ll either love it or hate it – but how will you ever know unless you try?
Rabbits and pigeons are regarded as vermin in this country due to them both being so abundant, but they both taste delicious and we can always buy them in from local farms.
You could easily spend double figures on a warm pigeon breast salad in a posh restaurant.
But with a pigeon bought from one of my shops and a decent cook book you can recreate the same experience at home for a fraction of the price.
The back leg and saddle of rabbits are very tasty and tender and it goes without saying that they taste fantastic in stews.
The bottom line is this – don’t be afraid to try game. Ask at any of my shops and someone will be on hand to advise you on how best to prepare and cook it. We can even do the hard work for you if you ask nicely!
You won’t get the same choice of game at any supermarket – and you certainly won’t get the personal service.
Game is great tasting, great value, sustainable and easily available – so give it a try!