Fallow deer with beetroot and blackcurrants

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This autumnal feast of venison, beetroot, blackcurrants and chard is a stunning combination of British produce at its very best. While there are quite a few elements to this dish, the trickier parts can be made in advance. Source fallow deer if you can – its mild flavour and tender texture is a joy to experience.

First published in 2019





Blackcurrant gel

Venison kromeski


  • 3 beetroots, ideally 1 red, 1 candy and 1 yellow, washed
  • sea salt
  • 1 tbsp of vegetable oil

Rainbow chard

Deer sauce

To serve


  • Sous vide equipment
  • Blender


The day before you plan to serve the dish, prepare the kromeski. Weigh the deer shoulder and rub in 16g of salt per kilogram of meat. Set aside in the fridge to cure for 6 hours
Preheat a water bath to 85°C. Brush off the excess salt, then sear the shoulder in a very hot pan with a splash of oil until golden brown all over. Set aside to cool, then place in a vacuum bag with the chicken stock and cook in the water bath for 8 hours. You can also do this in a lidded casserole dish placed in an oven heated to 85°C – just periodically check it to ensure it isn’t drying out
  • 1 dash of grapeseed oil, plus extra for deep-frying
  • 500ml of chicken stock
Once the deer is cooked, remove from the bag and finely shred the meat. Bloom the gelatine leaves in a bowl of cold water for 10 minutes. Place a saucepan with a splash of oil over a medium heat and sweat the carrot and shallot with a pinch of salt until soft, then mix this into the picked deer meat. Add the venison sauce and gently warm through, then add the drained gelatine leaves and whisk until dissolved. Season to taste, then pour the mixture into a tray so it is 2cm deep. Place in the fridge and leave to set overnight
The next day, cut the set deer mixture into 2x2cm cubes – you will need 8 for this recipe, but any excess can be frozen. Dust each cube in flour, then dredge in the beaten egg and finally cover in breadcrumbs. Place in the fridge to deep-fry later
  • 50g of plain flour
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 100g of Panko breadcrumbs
Make the blackcurrant gel by combining the purée and agar in a saucepan. Bring to the boil over a medium heat, then tip into a tray and leave in the fridge to set
For the deer sauce, place a large saucepan over a medium heat and add a splash of oil. Add the diced venison and sear until caramelised all over, then add the shallots and mushrooms and continue to cook until caramelised
Add the garlic, herbs and spices, cook for a few minutes until fragrant, then pour in the port, vinegar and red wine and reduce to a glaze
While the wine is reducing, preheat an oven to 175°C/gas mark 4. Toss the beetroots in a little vegetable oil and weigh them. Work out 1% of the total weight, then add this amount of salt. Wrap the beetroot individually in foil, then cook in the oven for 45 minutes, or until a skewer easily pierces the beetroot. Leave to cool, then peel and cut each beetroot into pieces. Set aside but keep the oven on for the deer racks
  • 3 beetroots, ideally 1 red, 1 candy and 1 yellow, washed
  • sea salt
  • 1 tbsp of vegetable oil
Once the red wine mixture has reduced to a syrupy consistency, add the stocks and bring to the boil. Skim any scum that rises to the surface and cook for 30 minutes. Strain the sauce into a clean saucepan, discarding the solids, then reduce the liquid to a sauce consistency. Once happy with the consistency, keep warm. You could also make the sauce a few days in advance and keep it chilled in the fridge, ready to reheat before serving
  • 500ml of veal stock, ideally True Foods
  • 500ml of brown chicken stock, ideally True Foods
By now, the blackcurrant gel should have set – transfer the mixture to a blender and blitz until smooth, then pass through a fine sieve into a squeezy bottle and reserve in the fridge until ready to serve
Season the deer racks with salt and place a heavy ovenproof frying pan over a high heat with a splash of oil. Brown the racks all over in the pan, then transfer to the oven for 8–12 minutes until cooked. Leave to rest for 5 minutes before carving into individual chops
While the venison is cooking, preheat a deep pan of oil or a deep-fat fryer to 180°C, bring a pan of salted water to the boil and place a frying pan over a medium heat with the butter. Trim the leaves from the chard and cut the stems into 5cm batons. Blanch the batons for 1 minute in the water, then transfer to the frying pan along with the chard leaves and beetroot. Cook gently until wilted and warmed through
Deep-fry the venison kromeski in the oil for 5 minutes or until golden brown and piping hot throughout. Place on kitchen paper to drain
To serve, add the diced bone marrow to the hot deer sauce to warm through. Arrange the beetroot and chard stems in a line to one side of each plate. Place the chard leaves alongside, then top with 2 pieces of deer. Place the kromeski next to the beetroot, then pipe dots of blackcurrant gel around the beetroot. Garnish with sprigs of watercress and fresh blackcurrants, then finish with a spoonful of the deer and bone marrow sauce

After cutting her teeth at the likes of Brett Graham's The Ledbury and Phil Howard's Elystan Street, Sally Abé rose to fame at The Harwood Arms. She's now at the helm of The Pem inside the Conrad London St James hotel, along with three accompanying establishments.

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