January Season’s Feastings – Venison
The cold months of winter are the perfect time for rich, satisfying foods, and with the festive season just passed, you have probably had your fill of poultry and ham. January may not seem like a great month for fresh produce at first glance, but there are plenty of earthy vegetables to enjoy, perfect for hearty stews, and venison is wonderful at this time of year.
At its best venison is very tender and full of flavour, while also offering plenty of health benefits. It offers omega 3 and the highest levels of iron of any red meat and contains less fat than skinless chicken breast.
Always choose “park” venison over farmed, not only is this the more compassionate and environmentally friendly choice but you will be greatly rewarded in flavour and texture. Because a great deal of the UK’s deer are free roaming, it’s not difficult to get hold of excellent quality meat.
If you are not familiar with venison, a good rule of thumb is to use it in any dish you would beef. However, venison is a very lean meat and as such has a lower fat content, which needs to be taken into consideration, as this gives it less moisture. In fact, any excess fat around the meat should be trimmed because it will just make the cut leathery when cooked.
The best cooking method will depend on which cut you are using. However, as much of the meat comes from the shoulder and legs, which can be tough and chewy if handled incorrectly, the general rule for cooking venison tends to be slow and moist. Tenderloin and the best quality steaks however, can be pan-fried with delicious results, but do be careful not to overcook.
For a seasonal feast
Try venison with chestnuts for the perfect warming meal when it’s miserable outside. They work together wonderfully in a casserole or as part of the perfect seasonal roast.