Tag Archives: venison

Recipe | Two ways with loin of venison

It’s National Butchers’ Week, and what better way to celebrate than with a couple of venison recipes? The beauty of venison is that it is, in some form or other, always in season. It is a delicious, gamey meat, which has the added benefit of being incredibly lean.

You’ll need to trim the sinew first. It’s a slightly fiddly job (more easily done when the saddle is still on the bone), but with a sharp knife and 5 minutes of patience you’ll be grand.

[I’m furious because I’ve lost the lead to upload the photographs I took. Until I find it you will have to use your imaginations]

Loin of venison au poivre

Serves 2

2 pieces of roe doe loins, about 300g each, sinew trimmed

1 tablespoon of black peppercorns, crushed in a pestle and mortar

Rapeseed or olive oil

25g butter

Brandy

2 teaspoons redcurrant jelly

A little stock/water

Salt

– Coat the meat as thoroughly as you can with the peppercorns. You are looking for a crust that, once cooked, is ever so slightly resistant to the advances of a steak knife. See an example with beef here.

– Heat a drop of oil in a frying pan over a high heat. Season the meat with salt and fry for 5 minutes on each side. Remove from the pan and rest on a warm plate.

– Add a splash of brandy and boil off the alcohol, before adding a little stock, the butter, and the redcurrant jelly. Stir until it comes together, check the seasoning (it’s unlikely to need pepper).

– Serve the loin sliced with mashed potato and the sauce.

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Venison stroganoff

Serves 4

2 venison loins, trimmed and sliced

1 red onion, peeled and chopped

1 clove garlic, peeled and sliced

2 teaspoons paprika

A handful of button mushrooms, quartered

A splash of brandy

300ml single cream

Flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped

Juice of half a lemon

Oil, salt, pepper

– Heat a little oil in a saute pan and quickly brown the meat. Remove and set aside. Lower the temperature and add the onion and garlic. Season with salt and pepper and sweat until softened.

– Add the paprika and mushrooms and saute until the mushrooms are thinking about being cooked. Now add the brandy and cream. Bring to the boil and simmer until slightly thickened.

-Return the venison to the pan along with a handful of chopped parsley. Simmer for 4-5 minutes until the meat is cooked through (beware though, venison cooks quickly). Finish with the lemon juice and serve with boiled rice.

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A seismic shift [loin of venison with pak choi and oyster sauce]


Something odd has happened since I moved to London. Something that perhaps I should have seen coming. I’m cooking less, and it’s really alarming me. At university I probably cooked 5 nights out of 7. It was something to look forward to at the end of a long day, or something to wallow in at weekends. It hardly needed any planning. A vegetable box arrived weekly, and because I pretty much knew which nights I would be out my flatmates and I could do a weekly shop.

Not so in London, it turns out. The pace of life is completely different – and I don’t even have a job yet. Last week for example. On Monday evening I went to play football in Battersea which was followed by a pint. Then another pint, and then before I knew it it was midnight and I hadn’t eaten a thing. The following evening was a friend’s birthday, so once again, supper was a hastily gobbled (but truly delicious) Vietnamese noodle soup on my way home. On Wednesday evening I was kindly invited to a do round the corner, where Vauxhall were promoting their cars, I guess, and free cocktails were accompanied by free hotdogs, and I returned home sated but to a depressingly unsullied kitchen. Thursday I was lucky enough to get an invite to the Rankin opening night at the Truman brewery. The swathes of photographs and gallons of mojito were sadly bereft of any kind of nibble, and sustenance wasn’t found until the early hours of Friday morning, when a Brick Lane bagel was all I could unearth. I might have done much worse.

By Friday panic had set in, and I jumped on the number 48 to London Bridge with the express intention of losing myself in Borough Market. Considering it might well be the most expensive market in the universe I was pretty chuffed to pick up a spatchcock poussin for £2.50, as well as a seemingly cheap beef cheek. I say seemingly cheap, because a kilo for £9.20 was certainly a good price, but the thing was so fatty that before cooking I had to trim a considerable amount of it off. With the cheek I made a curry. It was good, without being astonishing. Once honed I shall write about it.

Until then I shall tell you about the venison loin we ate last night. I cook with venison a lot, and, as often happens with such things, had got into something of a rut (no pun intended), cooking it in a similar way every time, convincing myself that such good quality meat needed no adornment. But the time had come for a change. Ollie Thring (of the excellent Thring for your Supper blog) recommended ginger and chilli and bok choi. It sounded heavenly, and light. Here’s what I did:

Marinated loin of venison with pak choi and oyster sauce

Serves 4

2 roe buck loins, each about a foot long and no thicker than your wrist
1 thumb of ginger
2 cloves of garlic
1 green chilli
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 sprigs of rosemary
2 teaspoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil
8 small pak choi
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
Salt and pepper

The slight bugger about venison is that it has a thin film on it – don’t mistake this for fat, ’cause it ain’t. You need to take a sharp knife and remove this as you would skin a fish. You don’t need to be overly fussy, but it tends to become tough and gristly, so the more you remove the better.

Right – now grated the ginger into a bowl. Peel and crush the garlic, deseed and finely chop the chilli and add with the spices to the marinade. Strip the rosemary leaves from their sprigs and finely chop. Rosemary might seem an incongruous addition, but it was truly delicious. That said, coriander would make a fine replacement, and you might try adding a little yoghurt too. (oh for a barbeque!).

Add the rosemary, soy sauce and olive oil, season with pepper and toss in the venison. Leave to marinate for as long as you can – ideally 24 hours, but at least 2.

Get a heavy-bottomed frying pan hot over a bullish flame and add the venison. Fry for 4 minutes on each side.

Meanwhile wash the pak choi and halve them. Blanch in boiling salted water and drain. Then heat a little oil in a frying pan over a moderate heat and stir fry with a pinch of salt and twist of pepper.

Remove the venison to a warm plate and rest for 5 minutes while you finish the pak choi by adding the oyster sauce and stir-frying for another few minutes until coating the greens.

Thickly slice the venison and serve with the pak choi. You could also serve this with noodles if you’re feeling particularly hungry, though I’m not convinced it really needs it.

I hope this heralds the start of some sort of routine. Cooking once a week just doesn’t come close to being enough.

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Spanish venison


There seems to be a bit of a problem with deer in the country at the moment. There are around 2 million deer in Britain, of which the main species are red deer, roe deer, fallow deer and muntjack. This, it seems, is far too many, and a serious cull has been called for. Bad for the deer, good for us.

OK, let’s look at both sides of this before people start telephoning the RSPCA. On the one hand there is no denying that they are absolutely magnificent animals – dignified, even kingly – and that the unabated slaughter of them (or indeed any animal) is completely unjustified and verging on the insane. However, if you look at both the human and ecological impact of so many deer, the argument for culling is compelling. The damage that deer do to the natural habitat of literally thousands of species renders it uninhabitable, so the biodiversity in vast swathes of forest is shrinking at an alarming rate. Wildlife needs delicate management. Furthermore, the road accidents caused by the sheer volume of deer is perhaps reason enough to cull (“just don’t drive!” I hear you cry…a discussion for another day/blog perhaps).

Anyway, either way experts reckon that we need to cull about 100,000 deer a year, which means that venison (the meat from deer) is going to become more and more available. At home we have a lot of roe deer in particular who, while beautiful to look at themselves, render the woodland less so, destroying young woods with ease. As a result there is often a fair bit of venison around, and I have found it rather too easy to get into the habit of basic ‘roast, rest and eat’ cookery. But it’s such a wonderful meat that it lends itself well to adaptation. It is very lean, so any stewing needs doing with a hefty amount of bacon or something similar. But its loin makes wonderful carpaccio, or can be a great replacement for a steak.

This is what I did with a haunch the other night. If you’re not confident with a knife you could get the butcher to do the first part, but it’s not a particularly complicated piece of butchery.

Braised haunch of venison with chorizo and mushrooms

Serves 6

1 roe deer haunch
2 large onions, peeled and sliced
300g chorizo, roughly chopped
500g button mushrooms, halved
200ml red wine
200ml stock
Salt and pepper
Oil

Preheat the oven to 190C.

First remove the bone from the haunch by cutting down the length of the bone and working the flesh away around it. Lay the meat out flat like a giant steak and season all over with salt and pepper.

Heat some oil in a large saute pan or roasting dish, brown the meat on all sides (this will take a few minutes) and set aside.

Add the onions, chorizo and mushrooms and stir over the heat for a couple of minutes, then add the wine and stock. Bring to a boil, add the meat, cover (tightly with foil, if using a roasting pan) and cook in the preheated oven for 30-40 minutes.

Rest and serve with butternut squash mash and purple sprouting broccoli. And a hefty amount of the chorizo and mushroom jus.

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