Most people think that game is a commodity to be used only in the winter months. Not so. Game can be cooked a number of different ways on a barbecue, breast of pheasant and partridge being two of my favourites. Rabbit and hare loin and succulent pigeon breast are also great barbecued now that summer is here. These meats tick all the right boxes being a very healthy meat cooked in a very healthy way. The reason they cook well on a barbecue is because they are what we chefs call “1st class” cuts of meat which means they are the most tender muscles, in this case the breasts and loins that do little or no work . These cuts also contain little or no sinew and therefore can be cooked using quick methods.
So called “2nd class” cuts are the muscles that do lots of work, they are fibrous and contain lots of sinew. This does not make it a bad piece of meat, in fact the cuts from these muscles are full of flavour, moist and tender once cooked, they just require longer cooking to break down the sinew and tougher e fibres in the meat to make it palatable and digestible.
So to sum up, all meat falls in to 2 main cooking categories:
1St Class Cuts:
These can be used for quick methods of cookery i.e Pan-frying, grilling, griddling, barbecues, roasting
2nd Class Cuts:
These can be used for slow methods of cookery i.e. Pot roasting, stewing, braising, boiling.
Pheasant breast seasoned and brushed with a little light olive oil and cooked for a few minutes each side on a barbecue can be served a multitude of ways.
I like to serve it with a ramekin of sweet chilli dressing and baby leaf salad, this makes a fantastic summer combination. Here you can find a recipe for the Sweet Chilli Dressing.
Sweet Chilli Dressing
4 Red chillies
2.5lt white wine vinegar
300g light brown granulated sugar
3 balls of glace stem ginger
2 dessertspoons of honey
1) Cut the chillies in half and remove the seeds.
2) Slice the chillies into very tin strips and then chop finely.
3) Add some oil to a pan when the oil is hot quickly stir fry the chilli until you can see the oil going a reddish colour.
4) Add vinegar and bring to boil.
5) Add sugar and honey
6) Cut stem ginger into slices and then strips then add this to vinegar and sugar mix.
7) Allow to reduce by half. The dressing should have thickened slightly so that it just coats the back of a spoon.
8) Remove from stove allow to cool then taste if it is too sharp replace on stove add a little more sugar and reduce a little further. If too sweet add more vinegar and again replace on stove to reduce a little further then place in fridge to go cold. This dressing benefits from being cold when served. It will also keep for a long time as long as you plate it in a sealed bottle or jar.