Venison: a bit like beef but far tastier and better for you!
We visited Wyken Farmer’s Market a couple of Saturdays ago and we were just about to leave when we spotted Jim Allen from ‘Discover Venison’ with a wonderful display of wild Suffolk venison. It all looked very tempting, and Jim’s very knowledgeable and enthusiastic about it, so we walked away with some venison mince and a rolled shoulder joint to pop in the freezer. We probably don’t eat as much venison as we should, especially when you consider that it is a healthier alternative to beef. According to Jim’s website, it has the benefits of being a complete protein containing all the essential amino acids, whilst being lower in fat and cholesterol. It also has less calories than beef and a slightly higher iron content. Fancy that?
Anyway, I created this delicious Suffolk Venison Pie with the mince; a topping of thinly sliced layers of potato and celeriac with a rich, red wine and venison stew underneath. I serve it with seasonal green vegetables such as cabbage or sprouts. This dish has a depth of flavour and richness that one made with minced beef simply doesn’t deliver. Truly, it’s one of the most satisfyingly tasty supper dishes I’ve ever eaten! Go on, discover venison!
You will need…
- 500g minced venison
- 300ml red wine
- 2 tablespoons of rapeseed or light cooking oil
- 2 red onions, peeled and sliced
- 2 fresh bay leaves
- 2 cloves of garlic, peeled, crushed and chopped
- 1 medium carrot, peeled and finely diced
- 1 small leek, sliced twice vertically and then across quite finely
- 1 dessertspoon of tomato paste
- 1 dessertspoon of plum chutney, redcurrant or bramble jelly (gives a fruity edge that works so well with game. If you don’t use chutney, add a scant teaspoon of red wine vinegar to the jelly)
- 2 medium potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced with a mandolin
- 1 small or 1/2 large celeriac – peeled and finely sliced with a mandolin
- Sea salt and black pepper
- 20g butter
- Heat the cooking oil in a heavy pan on the hob. Add the chopped onions, garlic and carrots and sweat them gently for about 10 minutes.
- Add the venison mince and brown it gently.
- Next, add the chopped leeks. Once they have wilted, pour in the red wine, and mix in the bay leaves, tomato paste and chutney.
- Bring to a gentle simmer, cover and cook very gently for about an hour. The meat should be tender, the gravy should be thickened and rich. Adjust the seasoning to taste.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180C.
- Place the venison mixture into an ovenproof dish.
- Layer the thin slices of potato and celeriac on top, season each layer and dot with butter. End with a potato layer and dot with more butter. You are creating a kind of ‘Pommes Anna’ topping in effect (you could top this with potato and celeriac mash if you prefer).
- Cover with foil and cook in the oven for an hour. To see if it’s ready or not, just test the topping with the point of a knife. If it gives and it’s soft, it’s done. If not, give it another 15 minutes.
- Remove the foil and brown the top with the oven grill element on. It should be golden and crispy on top.
Discover more venison!
I’ve worked with Jim subsequently on a series of venison recipe cards to help people get the best from this fantastic product, so be sure to ask for them if you pay him a visit. Alternatively, check out these tasty recipes on the Pigeon Cottage Kitchen website.
- Venison Steak or Duck Breast with ‘Dibs Rumman Sauce
- Red Wine Braised Shoulder of Venison
- Roasted Haunch of Venison
- Suffolk Venison Chilli with Black Beans
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