Cooking Game Quickly
Tender pieces of meat like tenderloin and steaks, fish, young small game, and breast meat are perfect for cooking hot and fast.
Hot Oven Roasting or Baking
Usually a hot oven is 400°F to 500°F. Tender roasts are the best candidates for dry-heat cooking. The internal temperature of these cuts of thick meat should be from 130°F degrees for rare to 145°F for medium. Well done tends to be too dry with high dry heat. Whole turkey, pheasant, duck, goose, large grouse, and other such birds with the skin on or skinless and larded with fat or bacon strips should be cooked over high heat to begin with and then dropped to a lower temperature to finish cooking.
A pan-sautéed game bird breast, big-game steak, or fillet of fish is undeniably delicious. The trick to sautéing is getting the pan and the oil nice and hot. The meat is then placed into the skillet and cooked for 2 or 3 minutes (depending on thickness) until nicely browned, then turned once to finish cooking. Very thin pieces of meat or fish will sauté in a couple of minutes. Game meat is very lean, so avoid overcooking, which dries it out.
Let the broiler get nice and hot. Gas broilers are akin to grilling because the gas broiler is a hot flame that licks from the top of the oven. Electric broilers need to be red hot before cooking food, which is placed on the upper rack. Splay small game birds flat and always broil the bone side first. Steaks, chops, and tenderloins need to be turned to brown and sear on each side. Broil fish fillets on the flesh side only. Fish steaks may be turned once.
A bouquet garni is often added to poaching liquid to enhance the flavor of the food that is being poached. It is a bundle of herbs and seasonings such as bay leaves, whole peppercorns, cloves, star anise, and garlic placed atop a piece of cheesecloth and tied with twine to enclose. It is immersed in the poaching liquid and cooked for several minutes to release the flavor prior to adding the food.
Probably the most commonly poached foods are chicken breasts for chicken salad and fish and shrimp. Poaching is cooking food in hot liquid that is heated just below the boiling point, simmering until the food is cooked through. The liquid can be water, wine, milk, juice, broth, or a combination of these, enhanced by adding vegetables, fruits, herbs, or seasonings.