Game is part of our Christmas fare, and a chance to try a highly nutritional, protein-rich, low-fat meat. If your iron count is low, tuck in to a haunch of boar or a joint of deer and top up your potassium and phosphorus levels at the same time. It’s the ideal mid-winter pick-me-up for body and mind!
Where to start?
Your first taste of game meat is a bit like your first cheese-tasting session: it’s better to start off with a meat that isn’t too strong and won’t overpower taste buds that are used to the supreme quartet of beef, pork, chicken and lamb. You should start with young animals in a marinade or ragout before taking on woodier flavours in less elaborated “power-flavour” dishes like tartares and grills.
Too often, game meat that is too strong and has not been prepared the correct way can deter newcomers from trying it again, and even put some of the entourage right off, including hunters’ family members, who may even go as far as to refuse it. I speak from experience: my first taste of a freshly roasted mallard with salt and pepper had left me more than sceptical about its tastiness. But as it was my waterfowling partner’s favourite dish, I tried a number of different recipes that have since warmed me to it!
It would be a shame to avoid such a healthy meat that has come straight from the field to the plate, bypassing antibiotics, food supplements and the stress of certain intensive farming methods.
My favourite meat for that first taste of game: boar
There is something familiar to us about the taste of this wild… “pig”; not much different from pork, but with five times less fat and half the calories! OK, it’s better if it isn’t the old man of the sounder, either – after a certain age, boar aren’t suited to the pot anymore.
I remember a haunch from a boar that must have been two or three years old and which had been cooked “Hungarian style” by my mother one Christmas: a revelation enjoyed by everyone at the table, even those who didn’t like (but weren’t against) hunting. I prepare the recipe for you very soon.
And you, what is your favorite game meat?