Venison and blackberriesAugust sees the venison season (specifically fallow bucks) start again which means that the butchery counter will have wild venison stocked from now until next year.

This week we have venison burgers available in the shop as well as from the wood-fired kitchen, where it will be served with garlic aioli and house pickles (and I recommend a portion of home fries).

The haunch steaks are delicious Рjust ask the customers of the Blue Bell Inn at Emsworth who roar through them Рideal for the BBQ.  You should treat them like a seriously good rump steak, pan-fried medium rare. They also go well seared, thinly sliced and added to a summer salad with a blackberry dressing. (see recipe below).

Wild venison is culled at Stansted in order to keep their numbers manageable – although fallow deer can migrate through the estate in large numbers and cause huge damage to young trees. This is why you will often see areas of the Stansted woodland fenced off, or see young trees with plastic guards around them.

Venison is delicious, sustainable and one of the healthiest meats you can eat – with very little fat.

Summer Salad with venison and blackberries.

Serves two

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 venison steaks (about 200g each) Either loin or haunch.
  • 2 tbsp walnut oil
  • 1 shallot, finely diced
  • 3 juniper berries, crushed
  • 1 thyme sprig
  • 100g blackberries
  • 1 tbsp sherry vinegar
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 4 heads white and red chicory, leaves roughly chopped
  • Handful (50g) curly endive
  • Handful (10g) flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 100g wild rocket
  • 50g toasted walnuts

Heat a frying pan over a high heat. Rub the olive oil over the venison steaks, season and cook for 3 minutes on each side for medium rare. Set aside to rest.

Return the pan to a low heat, add the walnut oil, shallot, juniper and thyme and sauté for 5 minutes until soft, scraping up any caramelised meaty bits from the pan.

Add the blackberries and cook gently until they soften, then stir in the vinegar and honey until warmed through.

Slice the venison and toss in a bowl with the leaves, walnuts, dressing and a good grind of salt and pepper.

Serve.