Gavin’s Blog:

This week I am writing about venison. It is a pleasure to cook with wild meat especially when it is sourced on your doorstep. We are extremely fortunate to be able to source wild Fallow venison from Stansted and Uppark estates. Respecting the animal is very important to us at Stansted Farm Shop. We are able to trace our meat, fish and vegetables back to the farm, boat or estate where they were reared. 

Venison is easy to cook with as it has such a deep, rich flavour. I like to describe it as well aged lean beef. My favourite cut is haunch steak which I pan sear on a high heat for 3 minutes each side then rest covered in the pan off the heat for a further 3 minutes. When you uncover the steak there is a natural gravy that can be quickly developed into a sauce which gives a nice light balance to the steak. My favourite side dishes are wild mushrooms riz pilau or winter vegetable hash. This week I would like to share some of what’s going on with venison in the kitchen this week.

Venison pie – I have 4 haunches of venison which I de-boned. I removed the topside, silverside then trimmed and diced the rest of the meat and set aside for later. I chopped the bones and roasted them until brown, then added a couple of tablespoons of tomato paste and roasted for a further 8 mins.
In a pan I sautéed onion and carrot them added the diced venison. When the meat started to brown I then basted it in its own juices, added wine and reduced. At this point I add some rosemary, bay leaf and the roasted bones.
In a separate pan I make a roux with butter and plain flour, I add water to the roux and mix into the stew. After 2 hours of cooking I chilled the pie filling.

Next stage is the pastry bottom: a short water pastry made by lining the bottom of the pie tin which I blind bake at 150 °C for 12 mins. I add the venison pie mix and top with puff pastry. I bake at 200°C until golden brown (approx 13 mins). These pies will be for sale at Stansted this week along with Chicken and Squash Pie and Beef and Ale Pie (small £4 each or 3 for £10, Medium £10).

The topside and silverside I tied up into a joint and seasoned with salt, pepper and last years dried porcini powder. It’s then hot smoked in the Big Green Egg at 200°C for 1 hour. It is chilled and available to buy from the deli.

At the end of every week this summer we have been freezing organic tomatoes. When you defrost the tomatoes the skins peel off in your hand and the tomatoes seem cooked. I placed the tomatoes in a pan with red onion and garlic and hot smoked them at 200°C for 35 mins until all the liquid had reduced and the sauce looked jam like. This will be spread on brown sourdough, topped with warmed sliced venison and then rocket, pickled local chilli and coriander seed with a cabbage and apple slaw …