Venison is one of my favourite things to cook! There are around 90 species of deer worldwide and in NZ, our most common is the red deer. Red deer introduced into New Zealand in 1851 from English and Scottish stock were domesticated in deer farms by the late 1960s and are common farm animals here now. We also have an abundance of fallow, sika, rusa, sambar and wapiti in our south island. Some more internationally recognised family members also include elk, moose, caribou, whitetail, reindeer & chital.
Today, more venison is consumed than all other game meats combined!
Now before cooking venison particularly if it freshly harvested, you want to “age” the meat, especially after the gruelling 8hr hike up the mountains, snow, rain and wind, wet boots & exhausted body, its well worth the wait to rest your prized trophy to hang. This period should be about two weeks, some people today still hang meat outside providing it has a good covering of fat over it!
1- Shoulder(roast, mince, chops) 2- ribs, loin(fillets, chops, roast, mince, jerky) 3- rump & leg(steaks, roast, schnitzel) 4- flank(soups, stews, jerky, mince) 5- neck(roast, chops, stews, jerky, stocks)
The best cuts are leg, backsteaks, tenderloin, flank, shoulder. I have been using the ribs as of late and they are tremendous! And the bonus is you can cook em’ in just about anything, I use a sticky, smoky glaze cooked low and slow..yummm!
Cooking – You need to do this with a little more care and attention as venison is a lean meat with little fat marbling, it dries out fast! So be prepared for faster cooking also. A good way to tell medium rare is when you see the juices starting to seep out while cooking means its time to remove from the heat and rest.
Venison tastes great with all strong-flavoured accompaniments that so complement other game: port, red wine, brandy, cider & ale are good alcohols to include in a sauce or braising liquid. It is great with sweet and acidic fruits such as dark berry’s, currants, sour cherry’s, prunes, raisins, orange and plums, and excellent matched with chestnuts, bacon, pancetta, mushrooms, sage, rosemary, thyme, lentils, walnuts, olives, anchovies, beetroot and horseradish the options are endless!
- 4x Trimmed/sliced venison steaks
- 600g gormet potatoes (small)
- 1x sprig rosemary diced
- 3x egg yolk
- 250g melted butter
- Dash vinegar
- Small bunch tarragon
- 1x shallot
- FOOD PROCESSOR
- 250g rocket leaves
- Tomato & capsicum salsa (optional)
- 2x large tomato deseeded and diced fine
- 1x green capsicum diced fine
- 1x red onion diced fine
- Toss the steaks in a little olive oil & set aside. Slice the potatoes about 1cm thick, and toss on a roasting tray with rosemary, salt, pepper, olive oil. Roast at 190C for around 40 min checking every 15min.
- While these are in, make the béarnaise. put the vinegar, shallot, tarragon in a saucepan and bring to the boil, cool & set aside.
- Add the yolks to the food processor,(you can whisk by hand also) blend and add the vinegar mixture. once aerated slightly here's the tricky part. Adding the butter slowly is key, while mixing add slowly until all you have is the white curd. Discard.
- Now all you have to do is season to taste - salt and pepper. Keep in a warm place
- Last but not least, the meat. Now make sure you have a piping hot pan, sear on both sides until you see juices coming out (about 4-5min) depending on the size. Remove from pan and rest.
- Arrange the roasted potatoes then a generous helping of rocket leaves, steak on top and then lovely béarnaise. I like to do a simple salsa also of tomato flesh diced, green capsicum & diced red onion, combine altogether and season. Enjoy!