Man Food by Mark Hix

Roast Game Birds

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Cooking Sunday lunch? It's that time of year when you can be a little more adventurous. 


You should allow a couple of birds per person for a really decadent gamey feast.

You can buy them trussed or tied, or just as they are, and if you’re using snipe or woodcock, the beak can be used to truss the birds through the legs for an even more dramatic presentation.

If your birds come with their livers, these can be quickly fried, chopped and spread onto toast. I’d also recommend serving a pan gravy or a jelly, such as cranberry, rowan, quince or rose-hip.

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Roast Game Birds (serves 6-8)


16 or so small oven-ready game birds
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
A bunch of fresh sage leaves
A few knobs of butter, softened
Pan gravy or a hedgerow jelly; bread sauce, to serve

1 | Preheat the oven to 230°C/gas mark 8.
2 | Season the birds inside and out and place the sage leaves in the cavities.
3 | Rub the breasts with the softened butter.
4 | Place in one or two large roasting trays and roast for about 15 minutes, keeping them pink and basting with the butter from time to time. If you are cooking widgeon, allow an extra 10 minutes or so, as they tend to be twice the size.

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