Wild and Seasonal Eating: Septemberby Robert Gooch September 10 2018
It’s an exciting time for game lovers with new-season partridge and wild duck fresh on the menu alongside hare and grouse. Guinea fowl is also at its best in early autumn and with an abundance of wild fruit available for sweet accompaniments as well as aubergines, peppers and other tasty vegetables, cooking this month is a true pleasure.
September marks the start of the partridge open season. Delicate and tender, partridge is quick and easy to cook and is delicious served with a range of seasonal ingredients.
We supply both the red legged partridge (also known as the French partridge) and the grey partridge (or English partridge). The red legged partridge, introduced here from Europe, has become the most common of the two and is readily available throughout the season while the native grey partridge, which has lighter meat with a more delicate flavour, should be snapped up while you can!
If you’d like to make the most of any sunshine on September Sundays but still want to enjoy a roast dinner, partridge is the answer: a whole partridge roasts in just 20 minutes at 180ºC. If you have time to roast vegetables too, try Matt Tebbutt’s traditional roast partridge, with game crumbs, bread sauce, and roasted vegetables, made with Chantenay carrots, now in their prime, as well as parsnips and butternut squash, which are now coming in. And who could resist some roast potatoes made with freshly dug maincrop potatoes, especially homegrown Desirees?
Partridge breast fillets, meanwhile, can be used in chicken recipes as a more flavoursome alternative – just be careful not to overcook them. Use up tomatoes with tomato-based curries, such as this West Indian chicken curry with cinnamon and tomatoes recipe or serve pan-fried partridge breasts (or any game fillets) with a ratatouille based on our summer grouse ratatouille recipe. Make sure to try it with our grouse too!
Fresh wild duck is now in season and our range includes mallard and teal as well as wigeon and pintail. To find out more about the different types, read our Perfect Wild Duck blog.
Wild duck and foraged fruits are a match made in heaven so don’t miss your chance to try them with September’s blackcurrants, elderberries, bullaces, damsons and crab apples.
Try Mark Hix’s recipe for wild duck, elderberry and cep salad (which comprises another seasonal favourite: autumn wild mushrooms) or Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall’s duck with damson sauce (which is great with mallard). To enjoy wild fruits with wild duck throughout the winter, make up a few batches of Gill Meller’s crab apple & blackberry jelly, which is superb with roast wild duck.
Grouse numbers will be lower this year, as explained in our Grouse Shortage Update blog post, but we’re fortunate to have some! Savour the taste with simple recipes, such as our roast grouse recipe, served with crispy roast potatoes and curly kale, freshly in season.
Guinea fowl are at their best between September and November. With a taste somewhere between cord-fed chicken and pheasant, they are a perfect choice if you’re cooking for both game lovers and game newbies. We love Tom Kerridge’s recipe for roasted guinea fowl with romesco (a Spanish sauce made from roasted red peppers, tomatoes and almonds). Here, the guinea fowl is brined in beer and chilli overnight for added flavour and succulence.
If you’ve been foraging for autumn mushrooms, try Paul Rankin’s guinea fowl with wild mushrooms, which is a mouthwatering way to enjoy the fruity apricot-like flavour of chanterelles.
Vegetable chutneys, pickles and preserves
If you’re not yet in the swing of pickling and preserving, make time for it now. Surplus tomatoes, aubergines, marrows, beetroot, peppers, chillies and early autumn fruits can all be cooked up into tasty jars that can be served hot or cold with roasts, game terrines, cold meat platters or quick dinners of pan fried venison steaks, hare loins, wood pigeon breasts, wild boar sausages and many other meats.
Wild fruit preserve ideas can also be found above. Stock up your pantry to enjoy the rich and tangy flavour of chutneys, pickles and preserves throughout the colder months ahead.
Share your seasonal dishes
If you’ll be cooking up any of our seasonal ideas or have some wild seasonal recipe ideas of your own, we’d love to see your photos and hear your recommendations! Please share them with us via our Facebook page, Twitter or Instagram.