Forest of Dean fallow deer venison loin and ragu


The Recipes / Game

Tewkesbury Park, Gloucestershire

4 venison loin steaks
2-3 juniper berries, cracked & crushed
2 garlic cloves, chopped
Few sprigs thyme, chopped

2tbs cold-pressed rapeseed oil
2 bay leaves
5-6 whole peppercorns
1 carrot, finely chopped
½ leek, finely chopped
½ stalk celery, finely chopped ½ onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
200g venison mince
100ml red wine
100ml venison stock
2tbs tomato paste
Few sprigs thyme, rosemary, parsley finely chopped

8-10 leaves cavolo nero

Juniper jus
Reduced venison stock flavoured with crushed juniper berries

With celeriac fondant, cavolo nero and juniper jus

Serves 4

Start by preparing the ragu. Place a heavy-based pan over a medium heat: add the oil, bay leaves and peppercorn and fry for a few seconds before adding all of the chopped vegetables. Fry for a further 6-7 minutes or until all the vegetables have become slightly translucent, then add the venison mince and continue to cook until all the meat has browned slightly and there aren’t any lumps visible. Add the red wine and let this reduce fully before adding the stock and tomato paste.

Reduce the heat to minimum and let the ragu cook slowly for at least an hour or until the mince becomes very soft: if the pan gets too dry add a few spoonfuls of water. Finish with the chopped herbs and let it rest on the side.

Divide the celeriac into four thick rounds and cook to a fondant texture in butter. Wilt the cavolo nero in butter.

Marinate the venison loin for 5 minutes with the thyme, juniper and garlic. Pre-heat the oven to 180˚C. Fry the steaks in a hot pan, cooking for 3-4 minutes on all sides before transferring to the oven for a further 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave to rest, taking off and heating the jus flavoured with crushed juniper berries.

Serve a generous portion of the venison ragu topped with warmed celeriac fondant. Slice the loin and place on top of the fondant. Garnish the sides of the plate with cavolo nero and finish with a drizzle of juniper jus.