Long-time readers of my newsletter may remember that I was gifted two pheasants a while back from my hunting enthusiast Uncle. This Christmas I was delighted to receive a haul of Venison from him including a loin and a couple of joints from a Roe deer. If your first reaction is - ‘poor Bambi’, let me tell you why venison is one of the most ethical meats you can eat. In the UK, deer are overpopulated. Too many deer causes damage to the woodland or farmland they live in and it's not great for the deer themselves either, as there is not enough food to sustain such high numbers of them. There are no natural predators of deer in the UK since wolves and bears are no longer present and this leads to the necessary action of culling. I have even known vegans who have gladly eaten venison because of how sustainable the meat is.
Venison is also one of the healthier meats you can eat because of the low fat content. For this reason, the meat benefits from being served rare. Venison has a gamey flavour that is generally paired with fruit or wine but also works well with earthy flavours such as mushroom.
Loin of Venison with Broccoli and Stilton Purée
The loin is the most tender part of the deer and will benefit the most from the least amount of cooking. I followed this recipe and whilst unable to source Girolle mushrooms, Chestnut mushrooms worked wonderfully. I was delighted to have some of the puree left over as it was LUSH.
I chose to make a stew from one of the joints and was excited by this recipe as it called for Sloe Gin - which I happen to have a bottle of brewing at the moment. I loved the idea of cooking venison that had been hunted with sloe gin made from sloes that had been foraged.
I kept it very simple for this one and just roasted the venison on top of some veggies and served with a red wine sauce.