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How to cook game so that it does not dry out? | Food

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Every fall we are invited to eat more game, but my local supermarket only has game and pheasant, which always end up drying out when I cook them. To help!
David, London EC2

“Ethically, wild game is a good choice for carnivores, because animals live in freedom and live much longer than farmed or farmed animals,” says James Lowe, chef and co-founder of Lyle’s in London. “It also has an amazing flavor. Game is lean meat and, as David discovered, it can easily dry out. “The things that run through the forest don’t stay there, as buttermilk, whey, oats and barley are hand-fed to add a layer of fat,” says chef and restaurateur Richard Corrigan. “If you put a whole pheasant in the oven, you will never get the result you are looking for.”

The best approach for game birds, Corrigan says, is to treat the breasts and legs differently. He removes the latter, adds coriander, black pepper and orange zest (you can also put pancetta, squash and chestnuts), then “roast at 175 ° C for 45-50 minutes, by checking when they are tender ”.

For Lowe, meanwhile, the key is a digital probe or oven thermometer: the pheasant crown goes through a hot pan with foamy butter to color, then you transfer to a wire rack and “roast at 110C until that the core temperature reaches 57C, which will give you slightly pink meat – think of the dream roast chicken. Lisa Goodwin-Allen, executive chef of The Game Bird at Stafford in London and Northcote in Lancashire, also subscribes to the low mantra and slow, setting its oven to 120 ° C: “Use a flavored or herb butter under the skin, so the bird roasts and pouches at the same time, then increase the heat to 210C for the last 10 minutes, to make the crispy skin.

Corrigan sprinkle the breasts with warmed and crushed peppercorns, grated chocolate and orange zest, put everything in a freezer bag and add orange juice, butter and calvados. “Marinate for about three hours, then gently steam / poach the breasts in the same bag for eight minutes.” Let cool, pat dry, season and place skin side down in a hot pan with olive oil and butter. “Brown it as much as you can – the meat should be well done – then put it in a 190 ° C oven for a final blast for three to four minutes.” “

Venison, on the other hand, should be cooked “rare to medium rare,” explains Lowe, who first sears the loin, tenderloin or shank in vegetable oil on the griddle. “Once it has a bit of color, add more butter and keep rolling the meat in it.” Transfer to a wire rack and put in the oven at 110 ° C until the core temperature reaches 51 ° C – “It won’t be dry, guaranteed. Goodwin-Allen also sears the loin of venison before transferring it to the oven, as it ensures even cooking. His best advice? “Finish in a hot pan with a touch of icing sugar to caramelize.”

Corrigan, however, prefers his roe deer carpaccio, deer carpaccio style: sprinkle a boneless haunch (ask your butcher) with a mixture of coriander, cumin, black pepper and lemon zest, “color the outside, rest, then slice thinly. slices ”. Essentially, he says, when it comes to the game, “treat it with lightness and respect – but also be slightly eccentric.”

Do you have a culinary dilemma? Send an email to fete@theguardian.com

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