Game on to support meat from the fields
The Great Cornish Food Book is launched this weekend at the Cornwall Food and Drink Festival in Truro.
Michelin-starred Cornish chef Nathan Outlaw, who wrote a foreword to the book, opened the festival by cutting a 7ft tall "cake" of Cornish produce.
The book aims to encourage people to choose Cornish produce and includes features on what's available plus recipes from top Cornish chefs.
In the second of our series of extracts from the book this week, we look at game.
Mention this to the man or woman on the street and you're sure to get a mixed reaction, according to The Great Cornish Food Book.
Many people have never tried it, don't know what to do with it, or are confused about the shooting bit. As such, this source of nutritious, lean, inexpensive and sustainable meat is vastly under-used.
It may seem odd, but conservation and shooting in fact go hand-in-hand – healthy birds and deer generally don't exist without good management, and that means controlling the numbers.
Unchecked, deer, rabbits and other game are prolific breeders that cause major damage to crops and countryside. Perhaps the biggest challenge is what to do with the meat once you've bagged it.
The easy option is to purchase game fully prepped from a game specialist or reputable local butcher. Many Cornish butchers carry rabbit, pheasant and venison, according to the season. However, dealing with it straight from the field isn't as tricky as you might think.
The pheasant season begins on Tuesday and Cornish game specialist Chris Perkins offers these way of dealing with the bird.
Crown it – put your thumb at the pointed end of the breast and peel it back, taking the breast off the backbone but keeping it on the breastbone. This way you don't even need to gut it, but the flip side is that you don't get any crispy skin.
Overcome this by covering the breast with bacon to give some extra flavour. The fat also helps prevent it drying out as it cooks.
Put in the oven at 170C for no more than 30 minutes, frequently basting the meat.
See below for your chance to win a copy of the book.
Roasted Venison Loin
Ben Prior, chef proprietor of Ben's Cornish Kitchen at Marazion, is one of Cornwall's young, talented and ambitious chefs. This recipe for roasted venison is served with a cauliflower purée and a red wine and damson jus.
4 200g pieces of trimmed venison loin
50g dried cep mushrooms, powdered
50g Cornish butter
2 tbsp cold pressed rapeseed oil
For the red wine sauce:
300ml beef or veal stock
110ml red wine
2 tbsp damson jam, or try Cornish Kea plum jam
50g Cornish butter
For the cauliflower purée:
1 large cauliflower, cut into florets
50g Cornish butter
110ml Cornish double cream
Remove the venison from the fridge, dust all over with mushroom powder and leave to sit for 20 minutes.
Warm the butter and oil in an ovenproof pan, lightly brown off the meat, then roast at 190C (375F, gas mark 5) for 12 minutes. Remove from the oven and rest for 10 minutes while finishing the other jobs.
Place the stock into a saucepan, bring to the boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for 5-7 minutes until the liquid has reduced by two-thirds. Add the red wine and repeat, cooking until the liquid has reduced by two-thirds then add the jam and stir until it is mixed in.
Add the butter, season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper, and whisk until the sauce is glossy.
Cook the cauliflower florets in boiling water for 4-5 minutes, or until just tender, and drain. Blend to a purée with the butter and cream in a food processor. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
To serve, place the venison on a bed of the cauliflower purée; gently pour over the sauce. This is really good with gnocchi and a colourful vegetable such as rainbow chard.
The Great Cornish Food Book is £17.99. It was launched at the Cornish Food and Drink Festival in Truro yesterday and you can buy a copy there this weekend, or order online at greatcornishfood.co.uk for the cover price of £17.99, which includes all postage and packaging. £1 from the sale price will be shared between the Fishermen's Mission and the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution.