The inspiration for this saddle of venison recipe comes from the Chiltern Hills which are close to Laurie Gear's restaurant, Artichoke. Foraged Douglas Fir needles and salt crusted celeriac give this dish a festive aroma while Hawthorn berries and rosehips add acidity. Laurie Gear recommends substituting the pine needles for citrus peel and cranberries for the foraged berries, if necessary
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For the salt baked celeriac, whisk the egg whites to medium peaks and incorporate the rock salt to form a paste. Chop the Douglas fir needles and add to the mixture
150g of rock salt
4 egg whites
2 2/3 handfuls of Douglas fir pine needles
Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4. Pat the salt mixture around the celeriac, place on a baking tray and bake for 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool
For the venison sauce, place a large pan over a medium heat and add a little olive oil. Roughly chop the carrot, celery, onion and garlic and sweat in the pan until lightly caramelized. Pour in the red wine and reduce by half
1 celery stick
2 garlic cloves
80ml of red wine
Add the roasted venison bones and top up with chicken stock. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a gentle simmer for 30 minutes
150g of venison bones
500ml of brown chicken stock
Use a large slotted spoon or pair of tongs to remove the bones. Pass the liquid through muslin cloth over a fine strainer to remove all of the solids. Return to a clean pan, bring to a rolling boil and reduce by 3/4
Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6. Place a pan over a medium heat, add the butter, and as soon as it begins to foam, pan-fry the venison steaks until caramelised all over. Season with salt and transfer to the oven for approximately 12 minutes. Remove and allow to rest for 8-10 minutes
50g of butter
4 venison steaks, each weighing 150g
Blanch the cavolo nero in boiling salted water for 2 minutes and then plunge into ice cold water. Drain and squeeze out the excess water. Reheat in a hot pan with some butter and season to taste
2 heads of cavolo nero
For the emulsion, place the berries, rosehips, orange juice and sugar in a small pan and set over a medium heat. Cook until tender. Blitz in a blender and pass through a fine strainer - it should have the consistency of a thin syrup and can be left at room temperature until serving
100g of hawthorn berry
200ml of orange juice
50g of caster sugar
100g of rosehips
To serve, brush a strip of emulsion across each plate. Place the buttered cavolo nero on each plate, just off centre, and lay slices of venison on top. Cut the salt baked celeriac into cubes and arrange on each plate along with the shallots. Drizzle with the venison sauce and serve
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