Not only does the meat taste delicious – wild venison has an intense, beefy flavor

Date: February 6, 2011

Free-range, low-fat and full of meaty flavour, venison is becoming an ever more popular choice for the British dining table. John Howe, head chef at the Greyhound in Hampshire, who provides this week’s recipes, sources his venison from the Balmoral Estate, “when the Queen is not in residence”.

The deer are culled humanely by marksmen. “Farmed venison is the next best thing,” he says.
Not only does the meat taste delicious – wild venison has an intense, beefy flavour, whereas the farmed version is less gamey – it is incredibly healthy. It is packed with protein and iron and with less fat and cholesterol than lamb, pork or chicken.
Cheaper cuts are coming back into fashion, so why not try a venison haunch steak marinated in gin, juniper, thyme and garlic? It is as tasty eaten as loin or as a deeply savoury ragout. The Greyhound Warm salad of Balmoral venison loin, Black figs, Crisp Prosciutto, raspberry vinaigrette
Serves 4
• 350g trimmed venison loin
• Salt
• Cracked black pepper
• Olive oil for cooking
• 50g unsalted butter
• 4 black figs
• 4 slices prosciutto
• Mixed leaves for salad garnish
• 8 fresh raspberries
• 2 tbsp raspberry vinegar
• 6 tbsp olive oil
• 1tbsp clear honey
• 4 basil leaves, finely sliced
1 Cut each slice of prosciutto into four pieces and lay between two sheets of greaseproof paper. Bake between two flat baking trays for 16 minutes at 200C, then remove and drain on kitchen paper.
2 Season venison loin with salt and black pepper. Heat a non-stick pan and add olive oil, then the venison loin, and colour on all sides. Add butter to the pan and place in a hot oven, 200C for four minutes.
3 Remove from the oven, baste, and rest the meat on a plate for at least 10 minutes. The meat is intended to be served warm.
For the vinaigrette:
Place the raspberries, vinegar and honey in a bowl and whisk to break down the fruit slightly. Slowly pour in the olive oil while whisking, season with salt, pepper and the sliced basil.
For the plate:
Cut each fig into quarters. Dress the salad leaves with a little vinaigrette and slice the venison into 20 thin slices. Arrange the venison in the centre of the plate, top with a little salad. Place the figs around the plate, topped with crisp prosciutto, and finish with a drizzle of vinaigrette around the plate.
Balmoral Venison Ragout, Macaroni Cheese, Wilted Kale
Serves 4
• 600g venison mince
• 100ml olive oil
• 1 large onion, diced
• 1 large carrot, diced
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• Pinch cumin powder
• Pinch smoked paprika
• 500ml tomato passata
• 200ml red wine
• 200ml venison stock
• 1 star anise, 6 juniper berries, 6 black peppercorns, all wrapped in muslin bag and tied
• 1 cinnamon stick
• 2 sprigs of thyme
• 1 bay leaf
• 200g dried macaroni
• 50g unsalted butter
• 50g plain flour
• 300ml semi-skimmed milk
• 150g Montgomery cheddar, grated
• 50g breadcrumbs
• 1 head of curly kale
• 1 large shallot
• 2 tbsp white wine

1 Start by browning off the venison mince in a little olive oil. Do this in batches and drain in a sieve. Sweat carrot, onion, garlic and spices in olive oil.
2 Add the red wine and reduce by three-quarters then add the venison stock and do the same.
3 Add the passata and the muslin bag, bring to simmer and cover and place in a moderate oven at 150C for one and a half hours, stirring regularly.
4 Once cooked, remove the muslin bag and season.
Macaroni cheese
1 Blanch the macaroni for 7 minutes in boiling water, refresh under cold water and drain.
2 Place milk in a pan and bring to the boil on the stove.
3 Melt butter in a thick- bottomed pan and add the flour. Stir for two minutes to cook the flour, then slowly add the milk. This should turn into a lump-free, shiny sauce. 4 Add the egg yolks, 100g of the cheddar and season with salt and pepper.
5 Combine the macaroni and sauce and place in four individual moulds, mix the breadcrumbs and remaining cheddar together and sprinkle on the top, place in a hot oven, 200C, for 15-20 minutes.
6 Remove from the oven and rest for two minutes before serving.
Curly Kale
Finally, slice the kale and shallot. Fry the shallot in the butter, add the kale and white wine, cover and cook for two minutes.
Season and serve alongside the ragout and the macaroni cheese from the ramekins.
Sauté haunch of Balmoral venison, goat’s cheese mash, baby carrots, port butter sauce
Serves 4
• 4 x 200g single muscle venison haunch steaks
• 3 crushed juniper berries
• Splash Bombay Sapphire gin
• 1 sprig of thyme
• 1 clove of garlic, chopped
• 3 crushed black peppercorns
• 4 tbsp olive oil
• 5 large Desirée potatoes
• 50g crumbled goat’s cheese
• 25g unsalted butter
• 1 tbsp finely chopped chives
• 20 baby carrots
• 75g butter
• 2tbsp caster sugar
• 50ml white wine
• 50ml water
• 150ml port
• 150ml chicken stock
• 1 shallot, finely chopped
• 75g butter
1 Mix together the gin, olive oil, juniper, thyme, garlic and peppercorns, then marinate the venison in the mixture overnight.
2 Boil potatoes until tender, drain and mash, add cheese, butter and chives.
3 Place baby carrots, butter, caster sugar, white wine and water in a pan, bring to the simmer, cook slowly for eight to 10 minutes.
4 Place port and chopped shallot in hot pan and reduce by three-quarters, then add chicken stock and reduce by three-quarters, finish by whisking the butter into the reduction. Reserve for serving.
5 Remove venison from the marinade, season with salt and pepper and place in a hot pan. Seal on all sides, then place in oven at 200C for five minutes. Remove and rest for five minutes before serving.

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