Venison can often be a risky option for a dinner party due to the Disney sentimentality often attached to this undervalued meat. Venison is lean, incredibly high in protein and often has a much richer taste than beef, making it a far more exciting alternative. Venison’s richness of flavour makes it a great option for a winter warming meal and with so many great local butchers and producers situated near our Beachspoke properties, there is no excuse not to try one of this months recommended recipes.
Tagliatelle Venison Ragu
If you’re organised and arriving at your Beachspoke escape late one evening after work, you could pre-prepare this delicious dish and have it ready to cook on arrival. The longer the ragu has to rest, the more flavorsome it will be making this a warming welcome and start to your break.
1kg boneless venison haunch or shoulder (or other dark meat such as wild boar, lamb or beef)
6 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil 200g pancetta, chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 celery stick, finely chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
2 bay leaves, 2 thyme sprigs,
1 rosemary sprig, all tied together with string
1 tbsp ground mixed spice
3 tbsp tomato purée
500ml red wine
500ml whole milk
500g fresh egg tagliatelle
50g unsalted butter
Freshly grated parmesan to serve
Heat the oven to 200°C/180°C/gas 6. Season the venison well with salt and pepper, put in a small-medium roasting tin and drizzle with 3 tbsp olive oil. Roast for 1 hour until well browned outside and more or less cooked (it doesn’t matter if it’s well done or rare). Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin, reserving the roasting juices
Heat a heavy casserole with a lid over a medium heat and add the pancetta, along with the remaining oil. Cook for 5-6 minutes until the pancetta starts to brown and crisp and the fat is released, then mix in the chopped vegetables, garlic, herbs, mixed spice and tomato purée. Turn the heat to low and cook gently for 20 minutes until tender but without colour.
Meanwhile, dice the roast venison into roughly 1cm cubes. Add the meat to the tender vegetables in the pan and mix together. Raise the heat to high and fry for 10 minutes until some of the meat starts to brown at the edges. Add the roasting juices, wine and milk. It may look curdled but it’ll come back together during cooking.
Bring to a simmer, cover with the lid slightly ajar, then cook gently for around 3 hours, stirring every so often. You can do this on the hob over a low heat or in the oven at 160°C/140°C fan/gas 3. It’s ready when the oil collects on the surface, the meat is very tender and the gravy has thickened. You may need to add a splash of water during cooking if it dries out too much or raise the heat towards the end if it looks a little wet. At the end of cooking, season with salt and pepper to taste.
Bring a large pan of well salted water to the boil. Add the tagliatelle and cook until it’s still quite firm to the bite (leave it even more al dente than you like, as it will continue to cook in the sauce). Drain, reserving a little of the cooking water, then add the pasta to the ragù, along with the butter. Add just enough of the reserved cooking water to loosen the sauce slightly. Put the whole lot on a warmed serving platter or put in individual bowls, then top with lots of Parmesan to serve.
Rack of Venison with Haggis Crust
Did someone say Burn’s Night? If you’re not in Scotland to celebrate this year, this recipe is for you. Haggis is best with a soft, ripe and peppery red wine – French châteauneufdu-pape or Chilean carmenère which you can order ahead of your arrival via our partnership with Roberson Wine.
15g (small handful) breadcrumbs
150g haggis, skin removed (the food team like MacSween)
1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
Venison rack (7 chops), French trimmed, chine bone removed: ask your butcher to do this or buy ready-trimmed
2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra to drizzle
1-2 tbsp dijon mustard
30g salted butter
6 carrots, halved lengthways
6 banana shallots, halved lengthways
4 garlic cloves
3-4 fresh thyme sprigs
For the rosemary jus
500ml good quality fresh or homemade beef stock
150ml tawny port
3 fresh rosemary sprigs
1 tbsp sherry vinegar
Heat the oven to 220°C/fan200°C/gas 7. Pulse the breadcrumbs and haggis in a food processor until the mixture turns crumbly. Add the parsley and season with salt and plenty of pepper. Pulse again briefly to mix, then remove to a bowl. (Alternatively, crumble everything with your fingers.)
Rub the venison with the 2 tbsp olive oil, then rub with salt and pepper. Heat a large heavy-based frying pan over a high heat. When hot, add the venison and sear for 2-3 minutes on each side. Remove the meat from the pan, brush the mustard all over, then coat with a light layer of haggis crust. Don’t press it down too much – keep it slightly loose so it doesn’t go claggy. Drizzle a little olive oil over the top.
.In a frying pan, melt the butter over a medium heat. Add the carrots, shallots, garlic and thyme, then cook gently for 5-10 minutes, turning occasionally, until they take on a little colour. Put in a roasting tray and sit the venison rack on top.
Roast for 30-40 minutes for rare to medium-rare (a digital probe thermometer pushed into the thickest part of the meat should read 50-55°C). Rest the meat in a warm place for 10-15 minutes.
While it’s roasting, make the jus. Put the stock, port and rosemary into a medium pan. Heat to a simmer, then reduce for 30-40 minutes until syrupy and full of flavour. Add the sherry vinegar and season to taste. Keep warm until ready to serve the venison.
To serve, bring the venison rack to the table and carve. One thick chop is enough per person (the leftover chop is a chef’s perk!).
Smoked Venison Salad With Pears, Walnuts & Blue Cheese
We hope while your away that you will be sampling the incredible local cuisine in your area. If you find your self needing a light lunch before dinner at The Pig in Coombe, Devon or a small dinner after a long late lunch at Chequers in Churchill opposite Yarrow – we’ve got you covered. This deliciously light salad still makes the most of local, seasonal produce and allows you dine out, guilt free.
1 tbsp clear honey
1 ripe pear
60g bag mixed salad leaves (we like Steve’s Leaves, from Sainsbury’s and Waitrose)
100g pack Rannoch Scottish Smoked Venison (from Waitrose), or similar
40g pack Finishing Touches Mango and Chilli Dressing (from Waitrose), or similar
100g blue cheese, crumbled
Heat a small saucepan over a medium heat, then gently toast the walnuts for 1-2 minutes. Drizzle over the honey, then toss the walnuts until they are coated and caramelised. Set aside to cool.
Core the pear, then slice into 8 long pieces. Toss with the bag of mixed salad in a large bowl along with the venison and the dressing, then divide between 2 plates.
Top with the cheese and honeyed walnuts, then serve with slices of warmed ciabatta or other crusty bread, if you like.
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