James Golding's game and ox pie
This deliciously rich and flavoursome recipe comes from The Pig in Brockenhurst, where the use of local produce is central to all of their dishes. By Jane Pruden.
1kg assorted game (i.e. venison, pigeon, partridge and hare)
500g ox kidneys (preferably fresh)
2 onions (sliced)
250ml veal or beef stock
250ml chicken stock
50ml red wine
50ml Ringwood Forty-niner beer or other good local ale
1 tbsp Worcester sauce
1 bay leaf
1 sprig of thyme
5-10g plain flour
salt & black pepper
Optional: chopped, mixed herbs (i.e. marjoram, rosemary & sage)
1 packet puff pastry
Start by trimming the game; remove any skin and sinews and cut into 2-3cm cubes. Peel and trim the kidneys, remove any fat, and cut into triangle shaped chunks.
Heat two pans (one for the game and one for the onions) until smoking point, and add the dripping.
Roll the meat in seasoned flour and then seal in the dripping. In the other pan, fry off the onions until they are caramelised and then add the sealed game and kidneys, thyme and red wine. Deglaze for 2-3 minutes. Add the stocks and bring to the boil. Skim and cover with the lid and simmer until the game is tender but still in whole chunks.
Add the beer and Worcester sauce; skim the mixture again and simmer for another 10 minutes for it to reduce a little.
Check and adjust the seasoning and add optional herbs.
Pour into a pie dish and cover with puff pasty, brush with an egg or milk-wash and bake until golden.
Beaulieu Road, Brockenhurst, The New Forest, Hampshire, SO42 7QL
Robin Hutson, co-founder of Hotel du Vin, has opened a glorious and affordable country house hotel in the New Forest. Teamed up with Jim Radcliffe of the former Whaley Ridge Hotel they have sired and renamed a new breed of hostelry with The Pig - described as rooms with kitchen garden food.
A £3million refurbishment has created 26 shabby chic bedrooms (not shabby at all!), a wonderfully informal dining room in a conservatory and a fabulous walled kitchen garden that supplies 85 per cent of the menu. While not entirely self-sufficient, produce is plentiful, both from the garden and elsewhere. There are mushrooms from the forest, pigs in the paddocks and free-range chickens roaming the grounds. In terms of piggy bits there is Saddleback crackling and apple sauce, Mr Barlett's 'Karma' ham and Brock eggs, all making the trip worthwhile. But don't get too attached to the piggies in the garden - apart from the pet Kunekunes, they're all earmarked for the pot.
Mr Hutson is a regular in the restaurant and garden, inspecting raised beds richly mulched with their own compost. Many kitchen and restaurant staff don Wellies and pick up a trowel after service, eager to be part of the whole process.
The New Forest is a haven of tranquillity, it's steeped in history and a perfect base to explore woods for mushroom foraging, walking and visiting the seaside. And there's trout, salmon and sea trout fishing about half an hour away on the River Test and plenty of shooting nearby. Tel. 01590 622354 or visit www.thepighotel.co.uk