Venison epigrams


Photo by Steve Lee, from Venison: The Game Larder

José Souto

2 boned out breasts of venison (about 2kg)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium carrot, chopped
1 clove of garlic, chopped
Sprig of thyme
1⁄2 bay leaf
2 glasses red wine
1.5 litres venison stock or brown chicken stock
100g Dijon mustard
2 eggs
200g plain flour
200g fresh or panko breadcrumbs
Oil for deep frying


Serves 4 – 6

Preparation needs to begin a day in advance. This dish can be eaten as it is or as part of another venison dish.

Heat some oil in a deep pan large enough to take the venison breasts. Fry off the onion for 5-6 minutes, then add the rest of the vegetables and herbs for a further 5-6 minutes. Add the wine and reduce by half. Meanwhile, bring the stock to the boil in a separate pan.

Place the breasts on top of the herbs and vegetables, season, and add the boiling stock. Bring back to the boil slowly, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 2-3 hours or until the meat is tender. When the meat is cooked you should be able to take it between your finger and thumb and pinch through the meat.

Take the meat out of the stock and allow to cool slightly for 10 minutes. Place one of the still just warm breasts on a sheet of grease-proof paper on a tray, then place the other breast on top covered with another sheet of paper. Place a weighted tray on top of both breasts and chill in the fridge overnight.

Once chilled, remove the paper and carefully place the breasts onto a chopping board. They should have become loosely bound together. Trim and square off the whole breasts then cut into portion sizes and shapes; squares, triangles or rounds.

Place a wooden toothpick into the centre of each portion: this will enable you to pick them up, and the portions will hold together during cooking. Holding by the toothpick, brush them liberally with Dijon mustard then pass lightly through flour, tapping off any excess. Still holding by the toothpick next pass through beaten egg, then through the breadcrumbs, making sure that all the areas are covered.

Heat the oil to 170°C and carefully lower the epigrams into the oil with the toothpicks standing above the surface. Fry until golden brown then drain, remove the toothpicks, and serve.