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Sukie Barber’s Venison - Bluebell Croft

There is one proviso, in order to enjoy cooked venison you must start with first class raw product. Getting good quality meat should be easy but it depends enormously on the time of year and whether you should be eating stags or hinds. Find a local game dealer you can trust - all too often with venison it is pot luck but new rules on handling and traceability are coming in, so things are improving.

Allowing approximately 6 oz per person of strip loin or a muscle block from the haunch and cut it in half to fit into your largest frying pan. Leave the meat to rest at room temperature having seasoned it with plenty of freshly ground black pepper and fresh thyme. Add a little salt just as it goes into the pan or it will suck precious juices out of the meat. Heat the frying pan till smoky hot and add some venison fat and a little butter for flavour.

When the meat has a very good caramel colour salt the other side and turn. Brown the second side and put into a very hot oven 250 oC for between 3 and 8 minutes depending on how big it is. We leave it to rest for at least 5 minutes in a warm place before slicing into big chunks to serve – very pink. If you find it easier you can cut the meat into steaks and pan fry them for a minute or two but don’t over cook them

It is really important to make a good strong stock to serve with the venison as above. We make it by taking a large quantity of venison bones and roasting them in a hot oven with roughly chopped onions (leave the skin on for the colour) and plenty of freshly ground black pepper. Roast them until a very dark colour burnt and cover with cold water and simmer for up to two days. Reduce this down with some red wine and perhaps some winter chantarelle or ceps and season. If you want to make a truly unctuous sauce there are no short cuts. Thicken with small pieces of very cold butter to make a wonderfully rich flavourful sauce.

Serve the venison on a little pile of spiced red cabbage (use Allspice) and with a big bowl of thinly sliced potatoes layered and covered with half cream, half milk and plenty of garlic and nutmeg, with plenty of the sauce.

Sukie Barber, ‘Rural Chef of the Year’

Paul Mundy’s Braised Lamb
Shank with Parsley Mash - Borough Hotel

Seal lamb shank in hot pan. No oil required (lamb has enough fat in it to seal itself). Roughly chop herbs, onion, carrot, celery and place in the pan with the lightly browned lamb then add stock and wine.

Put a foil cover over the pan then place in oven on a medium heat for 1-1/2 hours. While waiting for the lamb, peel the potatoes then boil until soft enough for mashing adding a small bit of the butter. Chop parsley then add to mash.

Take shank from the oven and place on the mashed potato. Strain stock from the lamb and place in a clean pan, bring to the boil then whisk in the rest of the butter to thicken. Taste for seasoning then pour over the lamb and mash.

Paul Mundy



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