Here in the UK, we’re approaching peak game season — the best time to enjoy fresh, high-quality game meat. 

These days we’re all about being health-conscious and considering better alternatives. Game is increasingly considered a wholesome and delicious alternative to many other types of red meat because it comes from lean, healthy, free-range animals which are low in fat and cholesterol.  

It’s also becoming increasingly important to consider how the food we eat impacts the planet… 

Have you ever considered how far your ingredients have travelled? When it comes to the environment, what’s on your plate and how it got there is a huge factor. The department for environment, food and rural affairs (DEFRA) estimates that the transportation of food around the UK produces 19 million tonnes of CO2 annually — equivalent to around 5.5 million typical cars.  

So, not only is eating local game a better choice for your body, but it’s also better for the environment — especially if you’re only nipping to your butchers for it. Who’d have thought?  

The history of game

Game has been popular amongst British society’s elite since the 16th century. Not just anyone enjoyed the luxury of game: everything from the number of dishes eaten to how food was served was dictated by status. 

In 16th-century England, you truly were what you ate. For the rich, game was fresh or, when eaten in the winter months, was preserved via salting, smoking, drying or pickling. The rich enjoyed all kinds of game, including peacock, swan and goose, often cooked in ale, almond milk and wine — and commonly used in pottage (stews) and pies.  

But the declaration of the Second World War in 1939 meant shooting for sporting purposes was discontinued for the duration of the war on virtually every estate in the country. And when rationing was introduced to the country in 1940, the only meat on a typical weekly rations list was four ounces of bacon and ham — not the luxurious game that the upper classes had become accustomed to.  

From the 1960s onwards, there’s been a massive resurgence in the interest in game. No longer reserved for the rich and famous, access to game cooking has become much more mainstream. 

So, Britain has a history of enjoying game. The real question is — are you ready to kick it up a notch? 

Game, set, make!

Learning how to cook game is the only way to make the most of the flavours and the quality of meat… 

Using only the best ingredients, our British Game Cookery Course will help you work with delicious, flavoursome meats, using them to create incredible dishes. And luckily for us all, Abinger Hammer is surrounded by excellent local suppliers of quality game.  

This course is open to cooks of all abilities and is set to challenge our students — so expect to roll up your sleeves and experiment with ingredients you might not use in your usual meals. Featuring some of the finest game Britain has to offer (venison, pheasant, partridge, wild duck, rabbit… we do spoil you), you’ll learn how to prepare game from scratch, make stock and sauces and get creative with seasonal vegetables. 

For popular game such as pheasant, partridge and duck, peak game season spans from September and October until the end of January. What a fun coincidence that there’s a holiday in the midst of it all — where feasts and festivities go hand-in-hand! 

Imagine cooking up an indulgent, mouth-watering confit pheasant leg croquette drizzled with whole grain mustard and chive mayonnaise. Or perhaps you’d prefer a succulent, oven-roasted juniper and black pepper brined pheasant breast, accompanied with pickled blackberries, parsnip puree and brussels sprouts? Why not treat your guests to tasty and tender roast duck breast to end a brisk winter day, served on a bed of peppery puy lentils and homemade rhubarb chutney? Or even crown roast wood pigeon with a super nutty celeriac remoulade and classic fried black pudding… 

On our British Game Cookery Course, there’s no need to imagine! 

Become a game pro

Learning how to cook meat to a high standard doesn’t have to be complicated — understanding the basics and getting a taste for components of a dish that work well together is what it’s all about. Our skilled professionals will guide you through this one-day course with practical, hands-on teaching in our fully equipped kitchen, so you can leave with the knowledge and skills to transform your cooking at home.  

If you’re a fan of rich, flavourful, indulgent food, this course is ideal for you. Or, if you know a cooking fanatic that would love to cook with high-quality game, our British Game Cookery Course would make the perfect gift! (Psst! Following up our game cooking class by learning how to make The Perfect Roast will guarantee a well-fed Christmas… just a suggestion).  

Are you ready to try something new? Join us at The Abinger Cookery School to learn all the skills and techniques you’ll need to make the most out of peak game season. Get in touch for more information today!