Monday, 24 October 2011

Wild Venison - A Great Beef Substitute

As a Chinese, we are used to game meat such as ducks, geese and pigeons. So when we've tried venison, we really liked it (some people will think that they taste too gamey). Thing is, they were never available in shops for cooking, so we only tried them in posher restaurants. I remember once I had it with chocolate sauce, which is suppose to be THE sauce to go with venison, but I really didn't like it. Chocolate for me is still best in sweet dishes. If only if I can cook my own version, I'll use a sweet and sour plum sauce with it. Did you know that in Hong Kong we use Plum Sauce with roasted duck, but not Hoi Sin Sauce? ;)

Apparently 11 years ago, Game-to-Eat campaign was founded, to promote wild game meat in the UK and get more people eating them. Since then more shops stock wild game meat, and even supermarkets are selling them now.

I was given the opportunity by Game-to-Eat to try some wild venison supplied by Yorkshire Game who joint the campaign. I was eagerly waiting for the meat to arrive, only to receive a card through the post box without someone ringing my doorbell, or even knocking on my door. The card told me that my meat has been safely delivered into my recycling wheely bin. I mean, seriously, WTF?! Excellent service by Parcel Force who outsourced their delivery to some private company. Well done.

Luckily the PR has wrapped the meat up nicely and I found out early.

Back to the meat. One of the sample I was given was this Venison Pave Steaks. Obviously I had no idea what Pave means. I only knew what steaks are. So when I was browsing for a recipe, I had thick cut steaks in mind. Can you imagine the look on my face when I opened up the vacuum pack while the pan was hot and butter and oil already sizzling in it? So, word of advice, know your cut, and know it before you start cooking!

After fumbling around and making the biggest mess ever in my kitchen, I produced the perfect, well, almost perfectly cooked venison. It was actually still very raw inside, and I had to microwave it for 2 extra minutes to make it just right. But hey, undercooked is better than overcooked right? At least I can still save it!

Also, because of getting all flustered, I forgot that I was suppose to slice the meat up before taking a picture. It's probably best this way, at least I haven't got a plate full of blood. So, here it is, my Venison with Plum and Port Jus, served with Celeriac and Carrot Mash, and Cauliflower in a Cream Cheese Sauce. (I was gonna serve it with something green like wilted spinach or asparagus with butter, but hubby insisted that I should cook the 2 weeks old cauliflower instead)


Ahem. I told you in my previous post (BritMums' Blog Prompt: My 5 Favourite Blogs) that I don't have attention to detail... I've tried my best. Next time I'll try harder.

I must say though, the Jus is just sooo MMmmmmm!!! And the Venison was soo Mmm Mmm!!! A lot of people compare venison with beef, but I think you should compare it with Duck breast. The texture and taste is almost the same, and really nice! In fact, I like it more than beef, beef has umm, a beefy taste. A bit like lamb but not as strong. While venison, as long as you don't overcook it, is really really nice. And did you know that it's much leaner than beef? I think we'll see more venison in this family baby!

Anyway, I'd like to include a recipe here, just in case someone still find this picture appealing enough to want to give it a go. Do try the sauce, it's just sooo nice! It goes very well with any gamey meat.

Oh, and a confession. It was really late (8pm) and I was all flustered, so no way would I be able to produce a perfect mash to go with the meat. I went for ready made by the supermarket instead. So please forgive me for not giving you a recipe for it, as I really wouldn't know what awesome E numbers they've put in.


Venison with Plum and Port Jus

Plum and Port Wine Jus

Ingredients:

12 Wild Plums (or any red plums, about a handful of them)
Granulated Sugar (equal weight to the plums)
Port Wine
Water

Method:

1. Wash the plums and put them in a small non stick pot
2. Pour enough cold water to cover the plums
3. Boil until the plums have softened and skin cracked
4. Add the sugar and stir continuously until they've dissolved
5. Add a splash of Port (I added about 6 Tablespoons, up to you really) and keep on stirring until the Jus has thickened up (the Jus will blow big sticky bubbles and when dribble down its a little bit thicker than water)
6. While the Jus is thickening up, season it with salt. Taste and adjust the amount of Port until your liking.
7. Set aside, keep warm

Note: Remember that the Jus will thicken further once cooled down


Venison Pave Steak:

As I've failed to produce the right Pave Steak (I didn't put it in the oven), I wrote the following based on one of Game-to-Eat's recipe.

Ingredients:

2 x 200g Wild Venison Pave Steak
1Tbsp Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to season

Preheat oven to 180 C

Method:

1. Heat a ovenproof non stick frying pan. Season both sides of the steak with salt and pepper. Add a tablespoon of olive oil into the pan and lay the steaks on it. Sear each side for about 30 secs until charred to seal in the juices.
2. Place the pan in the oven for about 6 minutes for rare, and 8 minutes for medium rare.

Note: As I said, better undercooked than overcooked. Just stick it in the microwave bit by bit until its just right if yours is too rare


I was also given a kilo of Diced Venison, but I've forgotten to take a picture of it before hubby used it for cooking. The recipe (actually, it was just Maggi's So Juicy Red Wine and Shallots Beef Casserole) called for beef, but we were so glad we cooked it with venison, because there isn't that beefy smell in the dish. It was just great.


Disclosure: I was given the Venison Meat to try; all opinion are honest and my own