Venison is one of the most widely-eaten varieties of game and it is also one of the most traditional. We’ve teamed up with Great British Chefs to bring you this delicious recipe created by Chef Paul Welburn from Michellin Star Restaurant The Oxford Kitchen. Perfect for an evening dinner party, this recipe takes venison loin which has been removed from the saddle and pan roasts it, smothering it with plenty of butter and seasoning it with thyme and garlic. Venison, being a lean meat needs to be properly prepared as it is in recipe for it to showcase it’s flavour and texture. If done right, it can be even more delicious than beef or other meats. For more on how to cook game meat, we’ve complied a list of our top tips here.
Venison Saddle, Sausage, Elderberry Huntsman Sauce, Pear and Parsnip Purée by Paul Welburn
Time: 2 hours 15 minutes, plus time to press the potato cake
- 2 venison loins, cut from the saddle – 2 loins should weigh approx.1kg depending on the size of the saddle
- rapeseed oil
- 1 sprig of thyme
- 2 garlic cloves
- 6 Maris Piper potatoes
- 200g of butter
- 1 dash of rapeseed oil
- 2kg venison bones
- 6 shallots, peeled and sliced
- 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 2 garlic cloves
- 5 peppercorns, crushed
- 1 sprig of thyme
- 2 tbsp of sherry vinegar
- 250ml of red wine
- 100ml of port
- 100ml of Madeira, sweet
- 1l dark chicken stock
- 1 handful of elderberries, or use blackberries or blueberries if unavailable
- 1 dash of oil
Pear and Parsnip Purée
- 4 parsnips
- 4 pears, preferably Comice pears
- 150g of butter
Crispy Cavolo Nero
- cavolo nero, woody stems removed
- oil, for deep-frying
- 8 venison sausages
- 1 dash of oil
- Mandoline (optional)
- Sharp knife
- Terrine mould
- Parchment paper
- Flat weights
- 14cm Stainless Steel Milkpan
- 35cm Stainless Steel Roasting Pan
- 24cm Stainless Steel Sauté Pan
- Fine sieve
- Deep fryer (optional)
- 2 x 26cm Stainless Steel Non-stick Frying Pan
- To begin, start preparing the potato cake. Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4.
- Melt the butter over a low heat in a saucepan. Peel and slice the potatoes very finely, either by hand or using a mandoline.
- Wash the slices to remove any excess starch, then pat dry and place in a bowl with the melted butter, mixing so each slice is nicely coated.
- Line a terrine mould with a strip of parchment paper and begin building up the potato cake in layers, seasoning as you go with salt and pepper. Once filled (better to build it higher than you think, as it will be pressed later) bake in the oven for 40–50 minutes, or until the potato is tested all the way through when tested with a knife.
- Remove from the oven, place a sheet of parchment paper on top and press down with flat weights. Set aside at room temperature for 1–2 hours, then place in the fridge to set.
- While the potato cake is pressing, make the sauce. Preheat the oven to 160°C/gas mark.
- Spread the venison bones out in a roasting pan and place in the oven for 20 minutes, or until golden. Add a dash of oil to a large saucepan and add the shallots and carrots, cooking until caramelised.
- Add the garlic, peppercorns and thyme, then deglaze with the vinegar, ensuring you scrape the bottom of the pan to remove any residue. Add the wine, Madeira and port and reduce by half.
- Add the roasted bones and the stock and simmer for 25–30 minutes. Pass through a fine sieve into a clean pan and allow to reduce to a sauce consistency. Season to taste and set aside.
- For the pear and parsnip purée, wash the pears and parsnips well. Quarter them, then remove the pear cores and woody parsnip centres. Dice without peeling.
- Heat the butter in a saucepan and once foaming, add the pear and parsnip. Gently sweat until caramelised. Once soft and lightly coloured, transfer to a blender and blitz until very smooth, adding a splash of water if the mixture is very thick. Season to taste and set aside.
- Preheat a deep-fryer or deep pan of oil to 180°C.
- Deep-fry the cavolo nero leaves until crisp, taking care as the oil may spit due to the water content of the leaves. Drain on kitchen paper and season with salt. Set aside.
- When ready to serve, preheat the oven to 160°C/gas mark 3. Gently reheat the sauce and purée. Remove the potato cake from the fridge, turn out and cut into even portions.
- When ready to cook the venison, ensure the loins are nicely trimmed of any sinew and fat, then cut each loin in half – this will make cooking them more manageable. Add a dash of oil to a large, non-stick frying pan (you may need to use two pans, depending on the size of the loins) and once hot, add the venison portions. Cook until golden all over, then add the butter, herbs and garlic and baste the meat in the foaming butter for 5–6 minutes, checking the venison all the time. Remove from the pan and allow to rest in a warm place for 10 minutes.
- Cook the venison sausages in a hot frying pan with a dash of oil until just cooked through. Set aside.
- Meanwhile, heat some rapeseed oil in a hot frying pan and add the potato cake portions. Carefully cook on both sides until golden. Keep warm in the oven. Add the elderberries to the sauce just before serving.
- To serve, add a sausage and slice of potato cake to each plate and place a quenelle of purée to the side of the sausage. Carve each piece of venison into six slices, add three pieces to each plate, and top with a piece of cavolo nero. Spoon over the sauce and serve.