The virtues of venison
- Credit: Archant
Nick Stephens extols the taste and health benefits of venison – and suggests the perfect wine to pair it with
Venison has become increasingly popular over the past couple of years and it is starting to grace the dinner tables of more and more folk across Britain. There are some good reasons for this: venison is actually as nutritious as it is delicious. Venison has always been highly prized and thanks to rising demand farm-raised, fully sustainable, free-range venison is more readily available these days at a reasonable price.
Venison is a dark meat, looking a little similar to beef, but it is richer and is packed full of flavour. What’s more Venison has the highest protein and lowest cholesterol content of any major meat – gram for gram it contains less fat than a skinned chicken breast!
With this in mind, here is a dish you may like to try yourself.
Venison steak served on rostii with green salad, bacon and Tewkesbury Mustard dressing
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2 medium potatoes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 rashers streaky, smoked bacon
Mixed salad leaves
1 pomegranate, deseeded
4 tbsps extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 teasp Tewkesbury mustard
1 tbsp Honey
Salt and pepper
1 tbsp sunflower oil
2 venison steaks
Peel and coarsely grate the potatoes on a cheese grater. Place them on a clean tea towel, roll up and squeeze tightly to remove as much water as possible.
Now heat a tablespoon of sunflower oil in a small frying pan, lightly season the potatoes and place in the pan pressing down gently. (A large plain cutter may be placed in the pan and the potato cooked inside it if you don’t have a very small pan.) Cook on a medium heat until golden brown and then carefully turn the Rostii over using a fish slice and brown on the other side. Keep the cooked Rostii warm whilst cooking the second one in the same way and then keep warm.
Cook the bacon until crispy and then chop using scissors. Arrange the salad leaves on the serving plates, sprinkle over some pomegranate seeds and the crispy bacon.
Combine the olive oil, vinegars, mustard and honey in a bowl, whisk until smooth and season.
Heat the oil in a frying pan and cook the venison steaks to your own preference: approximately three minutes on each side for a rare steak and five minutes on each side for medium depending on the thickness of the steaks. Alternatively sear the steaks in the pan for a minute and a half on each side and then place into a preheated hot oven: 200 degrees C, Gas mark 6 for three to six minutes, depending upon how well you like your steak cooked.
Arrange the rostii on the serving plates; slice the steak and place on top, pour a little dressing onto the salad and serve immediately.
When pairing wine with any venison dish you need to think of opulent reds such as a Bordeaux, Rhone or Barolo. Depending on your budget, there are a number of clarets which will pair beautifully with this dish and enhance your eating experience. They are:
Chateau Grand Rousseau 2009 (£9.85) - a charming classic red which comes from the bastide town of Sauveterre de Guyenne with subtle red fruit flavours with notes of blackcurrant, blueberry, tobacco, earth and vanilla.
Chateau Teyssier 2007 (£14.99) – an opulent Saint Emilion Grand Cru (whose wines are reaching cult status) with flavours of rich, dark fruits such as black cherry, blackberries and mulberries with a hint of vanilla, violets, oak and cedar.
Chateau L’Enclos 2006 (£24.99) – a stylish Pomerol Grand Cru with notes of red cherries, truffles, mocha, tobacco and black fruits. They are satiny smooth, deep and expressive with fine tannins.
Chateau Sociando Mallet 2006 (£27.99) – a superbly elegant and full bodied claret from Haut Medoc. Always an insider’s choice, Sociando Mallet is known for its beautiful structure and rich, classic flavours of intense blackcurrant, graphite and oak.