For me, game sea­son in the UK is a re­ally spe­cial time of year to be cel­e­brated, and wild deer is one of my favourite meats. Cook­ing with deer is a pure joy – the meat is so flavour­ful and only needs a sim­ple gar­nish to show­case its qual­ity.

Lancashire Life - - Food & Drink - By James Knap­pett

In­gre­di­ents SERVES 4

Deer sauce deer sad­dle bones, chopped rape­seed oil deer sad­dle trim­mings veal stock

1 car­rot, peeled and chopped

2 banana shal­lots, peeled and chopped

2 sticks cel­ery, chopped 1 sprig of thyme

2 bay leaves

1 tsp black pep­per­corns 1 tsp yel­low mus­tard seeds 1 star anise

4 ju­niper berries

100ml sherry vine­gar 300ml red wine

300ml port

Cele­riac purée

½ cele­riac

100g un­salted but­ter ta­ble salt, for sea­son­ing 750ml dou­ble cream 4 sticks cel­ery, juiced Brandy-soaked prunes 200ml water

1 tsp black tea

6 black pep­per­corns ½ vanilla pod, scraped 1 strip lemon peel

1 strip orange peel brandy to taste

6 pit­ted prunes

Deer loin

1 quar­ter fallow deer loin brown but­ter, melted, at room tem­per­a­ture (enough to brush the deer loin with) ta­ble salt, for sea­son­ing fresh ju­niper branches Mal­don sea salt

100% bit­ter cho­co­late


For the deer sauce, place the chopped bones into a roast­ing tray and dress with a lit­tle rape­seed oil. Roast at 170°C/325°f/gas mark 3 for 20 to 30 min­utes un­til browned.

In a large heavy-based pan add a lit­tle oil and gen­tly caramelise any deer trim. Re­move from the pan and strain in a colan­der. Add the veg­eta­bles to the pan and colour all over un­til browned. Re­move from the pan and add the aro­mats. Gen­tly toast to re­lease the flavour and aroma.

Deglaze with sherry vine­gar, re­duce slightly and then add the red wine. Re­duce this by half, add the port, and re­duce fur­ther by half. Add the trim­mings, thyme, bay leaf and roasted bones to the pan and cover with the veal stock. Sim­mer for 4 hours, strain through a sieve and re­duce un­til thick­ened, glossy and deep in flavour.

For the cele­riac purée, peel the cele­riac and dice to 2cm to 3cm cubes. This will al­low it to cook evenly. Add the but­ter to the pan and melt un­til gen­tly foam­ing, then add the cele­riac and a pinch of salt and soften slightly, with­out colour­ing, for 10 to 15 min­utes.

Cover the cele­riac with the cream and gen­tly cook mak­ing sure it doesn’t boil. When the cele­riac is soft and cooked, blend un­til silky smooth. Ad­just the sea­son­ing then pass through a sieve into a bowl set over an­other bowl of ice to cool rapidly and re­tain flavour. Once the cele­riac has cooled, fin­ish with a splash of cel­ery juice to freshen the flavour.

For the brandy-soaked prunes, add the water to a pan and bring to the boil. Add the tea and leave to in­fuse for 10 min­utes. Strain through a sieve and add the re­main­ing in­gre­di­ents apart from the prunes. In­fuse for 10 to 15 min­utes. Add the prunes to the pan and gen­tly cook on a very low heat for 2 to 3 min­utes. Re­serve at room tem­per­a­ture off the heat to in­fuse for 1 hour or so. Sea­son to taste with more brandy.

For the deer loin, en­sure the meat is at room tem­per­a­ture be­fore cook­ing: this will en­sure it cooks evenly. Brush the loin with brown but­ter and sea­son with ta­ble salt. Place a mesh grill rack di­rectly over hot coals on a bar­be­cue and colour the meat all over, mak­ing sure you don’t scorch it.

Raise the rack slightly above the coals and place a metal bowl over the top of the meat on the rack. Place the ju­niper branches on the coals to burn and cre­ate smoke, mak­ing sure it goes into the bowl for op­ti­mum flavour. Leave to smoke for a few min­utes and then, leav­ing the bowl over the meat, rest in a warm place.

To serve, place a spoon of cele­riac purée in the mid­dle of the plate, and nes­tle a warm soaked prune in the mid­dle of the purée. Carve the meat and sea­son with Mal­don sea salt. Place on top of the prune. Dress the meat with the deer sauce and, us­ing a fine grater, grate the cho­co­late over the top to fin­ish.

Taken from Glo­ri­ous Game: Recipes from 101 chefs and food writ­ers, com­piled by Ben Tish

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