Using the bones from game birds to make stock is well worth the effort as it can form a flavoursome base for many dishes, advises Rose Prince. Makes 1 litre/four helpings of base broth.

In my kitchen, making stock from leftover bones or carcases is part of an economic plan. It is a simple process that extracts a greater value from the bones of game birds, yielding 
a second meal. This pheasant stock recipe  is wonderfully versatile, vital for creamy vegetable soups, making gravy or using in risotto or pilaf. But in its own right — as a clear, full-flavoured base for a variety of warming and healthy broths — it is elegant, however humble.

You must mine the maximum amount of flavour from the bones. Game birds do not yield as much ‘essence’ as chicken, so add good-quality low-salt or organic vegetable stock powder to the roasted bones. Make sure the carcases are clean, wiping away dried blood and removing bruised meat, both of which can make the stock bitter.

Ingredients for pheasant stock recipe

  • 1kg pheasant, partridge or wild duck bones, raw or leftover from a roast
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp skimmed milk powder
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • ½ leek, sliced and washed
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 stick celery, chopped
  • 4 juniper berries, crushed
  • 4 black peppercorns
  • handful curly parsley
  • 1.25 litres of vegetable stock, made with organic stock powder/cubes

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Put the carcases in a roasting tin, pour over the olive oil and turn the bones in it so they are well covered.
2. Sprinkle over the milk powder — 
this is a chef’s trick; the powder turns light brown during roasting 
and adds colour to the stock.
3. Roast the bones for 30 to 40 minutes until golden then remove. Add a little oil to a large saucepan 
with the carrot, leek, garlic, celery, juniper berries, peppercorns and
parsley and stir-fry over a low heat 
for 2 minutes. Add the bones, cover with the vegetable stock then simmer for an hour.
4.Strain the broth through a sieve, discarding the bones, and season with sea salt to taste. It is important that the flavour of the stock is satisfyingly powerful.

Clean broth — serves 2

This is the broth for winter ‘light diet’ days; sustaining yet very clean. Add a little olive oil to a saucepan with thinly sliced leek, button mushrooms and carrot. Fry gently until soft, then add 500ml stock. Bring to simmering point, cook for 2 minutes then serve seasoned with freshly ground black pepper and chopped parsley.


Broth with grains — serves 4

For each person you will need 75g 
to 100g of pearl barley. Bring a pan of water to the boil and add the barley. Simmer for 15 minutes until it is tender. Strain then add the barley to 1 litre of heated stock — about 250ml per person. Reheat it if necessary. 
To make the parsley oil, blanch a handful of curly parsley in boiling water for 1 minute, then drain. Blitz with 2 tablespoons of extra virgin 
olive oil, season with salt. Add a teaspoonful to each bowl of broth.


French onion broth

For two people, slice two sweet white onions very finely. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a saucepan then add the onions with a pinch of salt. Cook over a very low temperature for 15 to 20 minutes until they turn light brown — do not let them burn. Add 400ml 
broth and a pinch of fresh thyme then let the soup simmer for another 10 minutes. Fry some torn pieces of ciabatta bread in oil for the croutons. Place a few croutons in two ovenproof bowls, pour over the soup and add a handful of grated gruyere to each. Place under the grill for 2 minutes 
until the cheese has melted then 
serve immediately.

Serving variations

Vegetable: carrot, leek, 
celery, mushrooms
Grains: barley, parsley oil