For organic food lovers, venison is perfect - on health, welfare and sustainability grounds it can’t be beaten. About as natural and unadulterated as meat gets, its breeding and life cycle has hardly changed in the last thousand years resulting in a tender, healthy meat that’s lower in fat than skinned chicken breast, higher in iron than any other red meat, low in cholesterol and brimming with Omega-3s.
A great choice for cooking with is organic venison from small herds on farms where they graze a natural diet of clover-rich grass and wild flowers, roaming the land in natural rutting groups. The meat has a deep colour and rich flavour which is less gamey than wild venison, and therefore more versatile. So well suited to autumn eating, venison has a short season (only available throughout the next month or so) and works well with the earthy flavours of the root veg and greens around at this time of year. Here are four ideas to try, using a selection of different cuts and recipes ranging from slow baked to quick cook.
Venison and ale casserole or pie
Traditional comfort food, this venison dish is a hearty, warming dish best enjoyed after an ambitious walk. Eat with roast carrots, buttery cabbage and celeriac and potato mash, or potato mash laced with a scoop of wholegrain mustard. See the full recipe here.
Venison toad in the hole
Before everyone settled on pork sausages, toad in the hole used to be made with any meat that was to hand – it works beautifully with the richer taste of venison sausages. Eat with rich, sticky onion gravy, roasted carrots and seasonal greens. See the full recipe here.
Venison, kale and mushroom stroganoff
This twist on a classic beef stroganoff swaps quick-cook venison strips and added kale for extra green vitality. Organic portobello mushrooms have a firm, meaty texture and fantastic earthy flavour that pairs so well with the venison and crème fraiche. A squeeze of lemon and dill leaves finish the dish perfectly. See the full recipe here.
Venison and root veg with boulangère, with shredded sprout tops
Venison tomahawk chops (with the bone still in) are a leaner, meatier version of a prime lamb chop that’s tender enough to fry. A boulangère is like a gratin or a dauphinoise, where slices of potato are layered and baked in stock rather than cream - excellent flavour without the extra calories. We’ve used the tasty, edible sprout tops which cook down like spring greens. They have a milder flavour than whole Brussels sprouts, but you could use any other seasonal green as the side e.g. kale or cabbage. Find out how to create this dish here.