As I write, I notice that the brambles on the hedge in our garden have at last ripened and it brings to mind a recipe using two wonderful local ingredients, blackberries and venison.
Most of the wild deer around her is fallow – the pretty, often spotty small deer that has seen a boom in population over the east of England – though roe and red are sometimes available too. I don’t think one type is more delicious than the other, but the foraged diet of berries, grasses, flowers and grain gives wild venison a more complex taste than the farmed stuff. And of course, the lean, well-used muscles of wild meat really does improve the flavour.
Proper hanging is important – around two weeks is ideal. The best roasting cuts are leg (or haunch) and the saddle; and the breast (or flank), neck and shoulder are more suited to stewing. Venison sausages can be very delicious too – we make a lovely one in the shop.
Whichever way you cook your venison, keep it moist. If you’re roasting a haunch, push slivers of bacon fat into slits with a knife and roast it hot and fast. Otherwise, there are masses of stewing recipes for venison, including this one – lovely to feed two or three for an early autumn supper.
- 500g cubed venison shoulder
- Knob of butter and olive oil
- 100g brambles (frozen will do)
- 1 red onion, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, chopped
- 3 sprigs rosemary
- 1 beetroot, diced
- 1 or 2 carrots, sliced
- Splash of gin (optional)
- 250ml-400ml water
Preheat the oven to 130C. Put oil land butter in a casserole dish with a lid. When the fat is hot enough, brown venison well.
Add the onion and garlic and cook til soft, then add rosemary, brambles, gin and veg. Season. Cover with roughly 250ml water or more if needed then put on lid and bring to simmer.
Cook in over for 4-4.5 hours. Check half way and if it’s too dry, and add a splash of water.
When meat is tender, serve with mashed potatoes. Delicious.