Recipe: The Ultimate Wild Venison Steak dinner
This is a brilliant dish, to begin with, if you are just beginning to explore wild game. It's easy to make and guaranteed to be delicious. Wild venison is lean and four times as dense as beef. If you can find the right source, it is a fantastic way to ethically source local meat.
Where to get ingredients:
There are a number of places popping up where you can get ethically sourced, wild venison from. Your local butcher or game dealer is an option. There is also a number of online retailers that make it easy to buy wild venison from. The keyword to look for is 'wild' and 'Scottish' or 'British' as there is farmed deer meat available, mostly flown in from New Zealand.
There are online communities on Facebook such as groups that share knowledge and where to buy/pick up game - 'Game for the Table' is a fantastic group where you can find local sources of wild venison within the UK.
I tend to use vegetables that are in season and I try and source vegetables that are grown locally. I use Scottish heather honey in this recipe, this can be sourced locally at your local grocery shop or in major supermarkets as well.
Steak cuts that you can use:
Steak cuts with venison are either the fillet (otherwise known as tenderloin), loin (otherwise known as saddle or backstrap) or rump. You can also use high-quality British beef fillet as a substitute if you don't have access to wild venison.
I try and balance each dish that I make with the sweet, sour flavours as well as crunchy (green veg) and soft textures (I'm looking at you venison). I like vegetables to be a feature as well as the meat. The meat deserves to be served with beautifully prepared vegetables.
Serves two people
List of ingredients:
Two wild venison steaks
Half a butternut squash chopped into moon shapes
Dried dill - A sprinkling of this
Heather honey - 1 teaspoon
4 Garlic cloves
1 large red onion - cut root to tip (longways)
Balsamic vinegar - 1 teaspoon
Brown sugar - 2 teaspoons
Butter - 3/4 tablespoons
400g washed brussel sprouts finely chopped
pine nuts or flaked almonds
a handful of fresh basil
Half a lemon juiced
Salt and pepper
Preheat oven at 200c.
The first thing you need to do is take the meat out of the packaging and lay it out on a clean surface. Dry the meat with a piece of kitchen roll or a clean tea towel you don't mind washing. Salt and pepper both the steaks and leave until you are ready to fry them.
In a small pot on high heat add a small amount of olive oil. Chop up 1 garlic clove finely and add to the pot. Slice up the onion, add this to the pot. Continue cooking on high heat add a tablespoon of butter, salt and pepper, and stir. Once the onions have cooked for five minutes add the balsamic vinegar and brown sugar. Turn the heat right down and stir occasionally. You want your onions to slowly cook becoming soft and sweet.
Once you've done this turn your attention to the butternut squash. Chop up your butternut squash into moon shaped pieces. Lay these out on a baking tray with olive oil and topped with dill, heather honey, and salt and pepper. Put in the oven for 40 minutes until soft and crispy on the edges. Turn the squash after 20 minutes.
Once the squash is in the oven, finely chop the rest of the garlic and finely chop the brussel sprouts. Once you have turned the squash, get two fry pans ready for the steak and the brussel sprouts. Put generous amounts of butter and olive oil in both pans and place one pan medium/high heat.
Once one pan has melted butter, oil and is hot, place both the steaks in. The times for steaks are as follows:
- Blue: 1 min each side
- Rare: 1½ mins per side
- Medium rare: 2 mins per side
- Medium: About 2¼ mins per side
- Well-done steak: Cook for about 4-5 mins each side, depending on thickness.
Once the steak is done wrap in tinfoil and place it on the side to rest. I usually only rest them for a few minutes. This gives the meat a chance to relax and become even more tender.
Whilst this is happening fry the rest of the garlic and nuts in a different pan. Add a little heather honey to the nuts making them crunchy if you like. Add the brussel sprouts and cook on high heat for a few minutes. You want your sprouts to be crunchy. Take off the heat and add the basil, lemon juice and plenty of salt and pepper.
Take your squash out of the oven, cut up your steak sideways and serve up the vegetables with the steak. I usually serve the sweet onions on top of the steak with the sprouts and squash next to the steak. You can choose to slice up the steak into pieces or simply serve it as is.
Here are is another variation of the same dish (I've switched the green veg to sugar snap peas):