Bang, bang, I was boar to be wild! Shooting trip with the Potted Game Company

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Some people go to the gym, some like to hit balls on the golf course. Me? To relieve some stress, I think I’ve found a new hobby – shooting and potting game.

The Potted Game Company is a partnership between two young and talented chefs (Jemima Palmer-Tomkinson and Rory Baxter) just doing their thing (potting game) and sharing their passion nationwide.

With game being a seriously under-rated meat, they have decided to change that and specialise in producing gourmet potted game bringing a contemporary twist on an old age idea. These little pots of meaty goodness can be found at Borough Market (every Thursday, Friday and Saturday), on the shelves of Selfridges and Fortnum and Masons and can also be purchased on their website.

I was kindly invited to step into their shoes for a day and get an insight into the process (from field to fork) of how their pots are created and to discover where all the magic happens at their lovely Gloucestershire base.

 

the potted game company

The day began at 9am when we were escorted to the ‘Hollow Fosse Shooting Grounds’ to try our luck with clay pigeon shooting before having a real go at some live partridges and peasants (oops, I meant pheasants) ourselves. I was good to go in my countryside gear but with a high expectation of failing miserably and looking like a fool doing so. Thoughts of killing the wrong animal or even worse injuring someone (accidently of course) were running through my mind but alas our trainer had the patience of Ghandi, calmed my nerves and was very helpful in going through every necessary step.

After a hard day’s work in the field, (although none of us were successful in catching a bird) we were treated to a rustic lunch in a shed which began with drinking ‘bullshot’ to warm us up. Bullshot is a wonderful game consommé mixed with Russian Standard Vodka. I had never tried anything similar before and it definitely was one of the highlights of the meal (not just because of the vodka addition). The spirit really gave a kick to the deeply flavoured consommé.

 

The lunch would’ve have pretty been meaningless if we hadn’t had a chance to sample some of The Potted Game Company’s specialities. We gorged on the ‘Potted wild boar with smoked ham hock and sherry’, and ‘Potted Trout with lemon zest and spices’ which were all spread across home-made canapé-sized toasted bread. Both were definitely sophisticated starters which were creamy and rich in taste and oozing flavours left, right and centre. The potted wild boar was my favourite, the butter helped with cutting through the meatiness of the dish.

What turned our long lunch into a boozy long lunch (the best kind) were several servings of delectable wines courtesy of ‘Three Choirs Vineyard’. These vinos (red or white) are perfect for most meals and occasions. The white was a delicate aroma of fragrant fruit characters, delivering a crisp lemony taste with a fresh and dry finish.

 

the potted game companythe potted game companythe potted game company

Following our countryside culinary affair, the experts arrived with a handful of dead (RIP) partridges and pheasants for us to rip open, feather and chop up (which I scarily enjoyed a bit too much) before heading to the kitchens to learn the art of potting (a great skill to pick up and sure to impress friends at dinner parties).

 

the potted game companythe potted game company

I had always naively assumed that potting would be a time consuming process. Although it does take some effort if you want it done to the highest standards, it only takes just under 30 minutes from preparation and is much easier than I had imagined.

We were all gathered around the kitchens like students from Le Cordon Bleu ‘oohing’ and ‘aahing’ as we watched Jemima go and boy, did she know what she was doing.

 

the potted game company

There was a lot of chopping, mixing and boiling involved and the main ingredients were butter, the meats and onions. When the mixture was completed and everything ready to go (pot), we simply filled two jars each of the good stuff for us to take home and then we were good to go back to the pollution and rush hour of the Big Smoke.

It was a fantastic day and if this is a reflection on what Jemima and Rory do every day, then I wouldn’t think twice about moving there (for a month) to become a country shooting and potting lass (maybe not).  These two are definitely ‘boar’ to be wild. (Groan).

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