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Book review: ‘Feathers: The Game Larder’ by José Souto and Steve Lee

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Book review: ‘Feathers: The Game Larder’ by José Souto and Steve Lee

José Souto and Steve Lee’s first book, Venison: The Game Larder, reinvigorated the traditional game market. The second in the trilogy from photographer Lee and chef Souto is the sharing of a passion for pheasant, duck, grouse, woodcock, goose, pigeon and other game birds.

Having been out stalking with Souto, I have witnessed first hand the patience, skill and stealth it takes to hunt game, as well as what it takes for Lee to capture his stunning photographs. In this book, Souto passes on some of the lessons he has learned over the years, including how to pluck, clean, de-bone, butterfly, crown, truss, fillet and stuff game birds, as well as step-by-step butchery.

The book features more than 55 modern, international recipes, which evoke the beauty of game birds in the field, from source to plate, including sloe gin game pie, pheasant tikka, smoky pigeon breast salad, grouse risotto, and game and chestnut sausages. There are recipes from previous students of Souto’s at Westminster Kingsway College in London, including chefs Russell Bateman and Michael Paul, and established industry legends such as Michel Roux Jr, Brian Turner, Phil Howard, Simon Hulstone, James Tanner and Daniel Galmiche.

As well as recipes that can be enjoyed by all, the book features useful guidance for those who wish to plan a shoot day, including a bi-fold opening display of a shooting party. Recipes are included which would suit a celebratory shoot lunch, such as pheasant scotch eggs from chef Sonny Lee and partridge stew with pancetta, chickpeas and baby chorizo.

The recipe for harissa-marinated and grilled partridge breast with orange couscous and pitta bread is simple to follow, and can be adapted for a grill pan. The flavours of harissa and partridge are rich and rounded, perfect for a light supper dish.

This is a definitive book on feathered game, for the beginner and the connoisseurs. Lee explains that he would encourage anyone to get out there, as it “benefits us all to know the story of the food on our plates”.

‘Feathers: The Game Larder’ by José Souto and Steve Lee (Merlin Unwin Books, £25)

Get the recipe for harissa-marinated partridge breast from the book here.

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