It’s game on with Irish venison

Lean, flavoursome venison is the centrepiece of these impressive dishes. Photographs: Harry Weir

 

VANESSA’S WAY: ROAST VENISON WITH PUMPKIN BARLEY RISOTTO AND JUNIPER JUS

I used to cook for a corporate pheasant shoot in Wicklow. After preparing a huge vat of broth for the beaters, I prepared lunch with whatever quarry the estate’s game keeper provided.

My love of venison began in that kitchen. As Sika deer have replaced the larger beasts that used to be eaten, marinading joints before roasting isn’t necessary.

With two days advance notice, your butcher should be happy to prepare and bard the joint with streaky rashers.

Stock your freezer with venison by ordering online at ballinwillinhousefarm.com (the largest venison herd in Ireland).

GARY’S WAY: RAS EL HANOUT VENISON LOIN WITH VALRHONA CHOCOLATE SAUCE, CANDIED TURNIP AND BERRIES

It’s hard to think of any other ingredient that we use in Viewmount House that gets our minds racing more than venison. We toy with the idea of using the previous season’s classics, but in the end we almost always want to play around and do something different with it.

It was many moons ago when the master himself, chef Kevin Thornton, gave me my first taste of venison with Valrhona chocolate. As has been the case for 20-plus years, he has been ahead of us all.

The key thing with venison is to get your timings perfect. As it is extremely lean, it’ll go from perfect to overcooked in seconds. Practice makes perfect, but I’m sure cooking this one over and over won’t bother anyone.

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