INGREDIENTS
by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall

Use whatever game you can get for this tasty terrine recipe. It requires a little work, but the results are well worth the effort.

Starters & nibbles

Buyer's guide

You can buy oven-ready game direct from game dealers, butchers, farm shops, online suppliers and supermarkets (game from the latter will almost always be farmed).

When buying oven-ready game, look for moist, well-shaped cuts that are firm to the touch, not slimy, with no discolouration or dry spots. The meat should smell fresh. The skin on game birds should be smooth and supple and the wing tips moist and pliable.

If you're not confident about what to buy, don't be afraid to ask for advice. Tell your game dealer or butcher how gamey you want your meat and also how you plan to cook it. They should be able to tell you hold old your chosen game is, how long it has been hung and whether it's fresh or wild.

It's important to know the age of your game, because this will affect how you cook it. Young game can be successfully roasted for a short time at a high heat. Older game will be tough if you cook it in this way and needs slow braising, pot roasting or stewing to become tender. A young bird's beak and feet will be pliable and the breast firm and proud. Young rabbits and hares have ears that can be torn easily.

Fresh wild game can only be bought in season but it can be bought frozen at any time. Farmed game is not subject to the same seasons and some, such as venison, is available year-round. Each type of game can only be shot during its shooting season, so check this before you go hunting.

Storage

After hanging, game should be plucked and drawn (gutted) before being chilled or frozen. Fresh game should be stored in the coldest part of your fridge and cooked and eaten within a couple of days. Make sure it can't touch or drip onto other food, especially ready-to-eat foods (such as salad and cooked meat).

To freeze game, leave it in its original packaging, or wrap in greaseproof paper and aluminium foil or a freezer bag and freeze on the day of purchase. It can be frozen for up to three months.

Defrost game in the fridge (thawing it quickly out of the fridge increases the risk of food poisoning). Take it out of the freezer a day or two before cooking, depending on the size or the animal.

To store cooked game, cool it quickly then cover and keep in the refrigerator for two days at the most. If reheating, ensure the meat is reheated thoroughly.