Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Ptarmigan and Red Wine

If you live in the northern most part of Britain you will be familiar with the Ptarmigan – it's an Arctic bird that makes its home in Scotland. It takes its name from the Scottish Gaelic tàrmachan, which may be related to the word torm, which means a "murmur". The Ptarmigan feeds on birch and willow buds and catkins when available and Ptarmigan meat is a popular part of festive meals in Icelandic cuisine. I have found a recipe for an Icelandic Christmas dish that you can use with Grouse or Partridge if Ptarmigan is not available.

Pan Fried Ptarmigan

3 ptarmigans
75 g fatty bacon
90 g butter
450 ml boiling water
450 ml boiling milk
2 tsp salt
300 ml cream
2 tbsp flour

Cut slits into the bird's chests and lard with strips of bacon fat. Truss the birds. Melt the butter in a cooking pot and brown the birds on all sides in the fat. Mix water and milk, heat to boiling and pour over the birds. Add the salt and cook for 1-1 ½ hours. Remove the birds and strain the cooking liquid. Thicken with a mixture of cold water and flour. Add the cream and adjust the flavouring to taste. Divide up the birds and serve with mixed vegetables, pickled red cabbage, redcurrant jam and caramelized potatoes.

Mathilde would pair very well indeed with this recipe – it is the second wine of Château La Fleur Morange, and is named after the winemakers, Véronique and Jean-François Julien's, daughter, and is made from the same 100 year old vines and terroir as the Grand Vin.

Mathilde is made from 100% Merlot and is opulent, well structured and rich. The wine has notes of cherries, blueberries, chocolate, plum and earth. It's an easy drinking wine and is approachable when young. It is well balanced and concentrated and is lovely when drunk with game.

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