PHEASANT BREAST with rocha pears in a creamy perry sauce sounds just the dish to serve to discerning guests.
Surprisingly, it needs no preparation and takes just 10 minutes to cook just the thing for people who want game without fuss or feathers.
What”s more, consumers can buy this dish in a supermarket under a brand that until now has been known to Britain”s gamekeepers rather than gourmets.
“People have traditionally bought or been given game birds in the feather and the cook has been left with the job of plucking and drawing them,” says Richard Leach.
“The preparation of food has moved on and we wanted to offer game in a form that was eye-catching, straightforward to prepare and, above all, tasty but not too gamey.”
Richard markets Keepers Choice game feeds one of a range of animal feeds made by family-owned and run Dukes and Botley Agriculture at Wildern Mill, Hedge End, Hants yet he has been instrumental in getting a Keepers Choice range of meals into Waitrose.
“Just over a year ago, myself and managing director Jonathan Appleby put some ideas on better ways to present game to the head buyer for Waitrose,” explains Richard.
“Game consumption is increasing by about 15% a year and I think it”s true to say that Waitrose sells more game than other supermarkets.
” They also approached a small company in London which could hand-prepare meals daily using fresh ingredients and distribute them to Waitrose.
“Through our contacts, we put forward names of game dealers/processors who passed a strict audit and could supply pheasant breast fillets. We also offered the brand name Keepers Choice to fit these specialised meals and sourced a packaging company.
” Numerous testings and tasting later, Keepers Choice hand prepared wild game dishes were launched and have been available in 100 Waitrose stores since October.
“Sales have been encouraging for such a new product,” says Richard. “Now we would like to see a change in the law so game can be sold year round, rather than restricted to the season.”