Game & poultry FAQs
Q: What is the best way to season game and poultry
We recommend you season your game and poultry cuts with salt and pepper after cooking, not before. Seasoning too early draws moisture out of the meat and can make it dry and tough. However, we recommend you season roasts and whole birds with salt and pepper shortly before cooking because salt helps to crisp up the outside.
Q: What about marinading?
A marinade is a combination of acidic ingredients e.g. wine, lemon juice, vinegar) along with olive or flavoured oil (e.g. sesame) and aromatic ingredients (e.g. garlic, vegetables, herbs, pepper). Acidic ingredients soften the proteins and make the meat more tender. Aromatic spices and herbs add flavour but should be used sparingly as their intense flavour can be overpowering. Before cooking, drain the meat and pat dry as a wet surface will prevent it from browning properly.
Tender cuts of meat should be marinaded for no longer than 4 hours as the marinade can overpower the flavour and affect the texture. Given the tenderness of poultry, marinading might seem unnecessary, but marinades also add flavour to a dish. Light marinades based on white wine are perfect for white meats, while more traditional red wine marinades are perfect for game. Humbler game cuts can be marinated for up to two days stored at 4°C in the fridge.
Liquid marinades can be used as an ingredient in braised dishes but should be boiled first to kill any bacteria.
Q: Why is resting so important?
During resting the temperatures within the meat fuse. The juices which tend to stay in the centre of the meat while cooking move to the outside making it warm, moist and tender all the way through. Resting is equally important for all types of meat. After cooking always allow your meat to rest in a warm place, covered with foil, for at least the recommended time (see pages 13-17). Rest for up to 20 or 30 minutes for larger joints and birds.
Q: How long can I keep my meat warm?
Meat does not need to be served sizzling hot, and in fact the full flavour can be appreciated much more when the meat is warm rather than hot. In a warm oven(without fan) at 60°C you can keep portion size cuts warm for up to 30 minutes, and roasts and whole birds for up to 60 minutes. This will allow you to get all your accompaniments ready. If your oven does not have a control this low simply switch the oven off, open the door to let out some heat, then shut it again. It will regulate itself to just the right temperature.
Q: Where can I get hints, tips and recipes or more help and advice?
You'll find many more hints, tips and recipes for all our products on the website. What's more, everyone who works at Donald Russell in Inverurie has been to our in-house cookery school, so they have first hand knowledge of how to handle, cook and serve our products. We also have a gourmet team of trained food experts, and a team of highly qualified butchers, so we can help with almost any query you may have. You can call us on 01467 629666 Monday- Friday 8am-8pm, Saturdays 9am-4pm and Sundays 10am-4pm.
Glossary of game & poultry terms
Spooning the juices and melted fat over the joint during roasting to keep it moist.
Removing the bones from meat so that it can be rolled or stuffed.
Fresh butter melted over a high heat until browned without burning. Usually flavoured with lemon juice and chopped parsley or capers and served with pan fried fish.
A spike or skewer. Wooden skewers are usually pre-soaked in water to prevent them burning.
American term for grilling.
Dissolve congealed cooking juices from the bottom of the roasting tray/pan by adding liquid (wine, stock or water), scraping and stirring vigorously, while bringing to the boil. The juices may be used to make gravy or to add to sauce.
Cut into rough cubes of approximately 1.5cm.
A dish in which poultry and vegetables are bound together with a white or velouté sauce. In Britain and the USA, the name applies to an old-fashioned dish of chicken in a creamy sauce. To prepare a fricassée use the technique of braising.
Traditionally well seasoned, rich stew containing meat, vegetables and wine. Nowadays the term is applied to any stewed mixture.
A term which applies to any large piece of meat or poultry cooked in a covered pot with flavouring and liquid. This method is based on the braising technique.
Galantines & Ballotines:
Made from birds, meat or fish that has been boned,stuffed and poached. Often they are shaped into a cylinder for easy slicing.
Cooking in liquid, usually water, at just below simmering so the liquid shivers in one or two places rather than bubbling. Used to cook delicate foods slowly and develop maximum
Soaking meat in a solution of acidic liquid, oil and/or herbs, spices and seasonings to tenderise the meat and add flavour.
A white sauce made from stock with cream and combined with butter and flour. Similar to Béchamel sauce but much thinner and richer in flavour.
1. Pan Fried Red Cabbage
Remove the stalk from 1 Red cabbage (approx. 600g), cut into quarters and slice or shred into fine strips. Heat 3-4 tbsp Olive oil in a wide pan over a medium heat and sauté the cabbage for 5-8 minutes. Season with Salt, Pepper and Sugar to taste, and serve immediately.
2. Pear Patties
In a frying pan, sauté 1 Onion (chopped), 20g Bacon (cut into small pieces) and 10g Dried pears (cut into small cubes) for 2-5 minutes. Mix this with 600g Mashed potatoes, 1 Egg yolk and 2 sprigs of Parsley (chopped). Halve the mixture and roll out, (using sufficient cornflour to prevent sticking) to make 2 rolls, then leave to cool. To serve, cut the rolls into 1-2cm thick slices and pan fry in a little butter over a medium heat until golden brown on both sides
3. Celeriac Timbale
Cut 1 Celeriac (approx. 450g) into 2cm cubes. Cover with water in a pan and add 2 tbsp Lemon juice, ½ tsp Salt and 1 tsp Sugar. Boil until soft. Drain the celeriac and transfer to a food processor with 3 Eggs and 3 tbsp Ground almonds. Blend to a stiff consistency. Grease 4 timbales with butter and divide the mixture evenly between them. Place in a bain-marie (or alternatively a baking tray half filled with warm water) in a preheated oven (170°C/325°F/Gas 3) and cook for 40-55 minutes.
4. Pea and Potato Mash
Boil 600g Floury potatoes with 1 tsp Salt until nearly soft. Add 200g Green peas and boil until the potatoes are soft. Drain and leave to dry for a few minutes before mashing. Combine 150ml Milk with 20-30g Butter in a pan and bring to the boil. Season with Salt, Pepper and freshly grated Nutmeg, then stir into the pea and potato mash and serve immediately.
5. Pan Fried Potato and Chestnut
Heat 4 tbsp Olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat and fry 400g Small potatoes (peeled, boiled and halved) for 4-5 minutes. Add 1 Onion (finely sliced) and 250g Chestnuts and fry for a further 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the needles from 2 sprigs of Rosemary and 1 tsp Caraway seeds. Sprinkle with 1 tsp Sugar, mix well and season with Salt and Pepper.
6. Mixed Vegetables
Chop 150g Carrots, 150g Celery and 150g Leeks into bite-sized pieces. Cook separately in salted water until al denté, then drain and refresh in ice cold water. Combine all the vegetables in a pan with a little of the blanching water and a knob of Butter and heat gently until ready to serve.