Fallow deer, celeriac, blackberry and thyme

Tom Shepherd serves venison three ways – as loin, belly and sausage – alongside a tart blackberry ketchup and light goat's cheese mousse, in this impressive dish. Every part of the vegetables is used: the potato skins are dehydrated and powdered and the celeriac trim becomes a crunchy garnish. It's a recipe that takes a lot of time, skill and patience, but the final result is a truly show-stopping main.

First published in 2024

Ingredients

Metric

Imperial

Venison

Goat's cheese mousse

Venison sauce

Blackberry ketchup

  • 250g of blackberry purée
  • 2.5g of gellan gum type F
  • 62g of caster sugar
  • 62g of Chardonnay vinegar

King oyster mushroom

Celeriac

  • 250g of unsalted butter
  • 1 celeriac, peeled, flesh diced into 1cm cubes, trim reserved
  • celeriac, sliced into round, thin slivers, for garnish
  • 500ml of vegetable stock
  • salt
  • vegetable oil, for deep-frying

Garnish

Equipment

  • Barbecue
  • Pressure cooker
  • Steam oven
  • Thermomix

Method

1

First, brine the venison belly in a 10% salt brine for 24 hours

2

After 24 hours, remove the belly from the brine, and soak for 10 minutes

3

Pat the belly dry, then sear off the skin side and cook in a pressure cooker for 1 hour

4

Divide the belly in two, and dust the flesh side of one with meat glue

  • meat glue
5

Press the two flesh sides together between two trays and leave in the fridge overnight to set

6

Preheat the oven to 200°C

7

Bake the potatoes whole for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until cooked all the way through

8

Halve the potatoes and scoop out the flesh, then smoke the flesh in a Bradley smoker. Set aside until needed

9

Dehydrate the potato skins at 50–60°C for around 8 hours

10

For the venison sauce, preheat the oven to 220°C

11

Roast the venison bones until golden, then set aside

12

Add a dash of oil to a large pan, then add the venison trim and cook until caramelised

13

Add the carrots and mushrooms and cook until golden

14

Add the shallots and sweat down

15

Add the brandy and very carefully flambé, then cook until reduced down

16

Add the red wine vinegar and reduce to a syrup

  • 250ml of red wine vinegar
17

Add the Madeira, thyme, garlic and peppercorns. Reduce to syrup

18

Add the red wine then cook until reduced right down

19

Finally, add the stock, soy sauce and venison bones and simmer until reduced to a sauce-like consistency

20

Pass through a fine sieve and muslin cloth and set aside

21

Place the blackberry purée and gellan F in a Thermomix and take to 100 degrees, then transfer to a suitable container and set in fridge until firm. This can also be done on the stove in a pan

22

Blend the puree with equal quantities of sugar and Chardonnay vinegar until smooth. Season with table salt, then pass through a fine sieve. Transfer to a bottle

  • 62g of caster sugar
  • 62g of Chardonnay vinegar
23

Bring the oil to 150°C, then whisk in 100g sliced garlic

24

Continue cooking and whisking until the garlic is golden, then pass off the garlic and set aside

25

Steam the king oyster mushrooms at 82°C for 11 minutes. Once cooked, place in the lukewarm garlic oil for 1 hour

26

To make the celeriac purée, first brown the butter in a large pan

27

Add the celeriac and cook until golden

  • 1 celeriac, peeled, flesh diced into 1cm cubes, trim reserved
28

Add half the stock and reduce by half, then cook for 10 minutes or until the celeriac is soft

29

Remove the pan from the heat and blend with the remaining stock

  • 500ml of vegetable stock
30

Season to taste and then pass through a fine sieve mesh sieve

31

Transfer to a bottle and set aside

32

Blend the celeriac trim to a coarse crumb

33

Heat the oil to 180°C

34

Deep-fry the celeriac trim until golden and crisp and set aside

35

Blend the dehydrated potato skins with some salt to a powder

36

To prep the venison loin, first remove all sinew, fat and excess meat, until you are left with completely clean loin

37

Roll the loin tightly in cling film, leave to set for 3 hours. Meanwhile, prepare a barbecue for barbecuing the belly

38

For the goat's cheese mousse, add 600g cooked, smoked potato, milk, cream, cheese and butter to a pan and bring to a simmer

39

Transfer to a blender and blend until smooth

40

Add to a heatproof cream whipper with one charge loaded

41

Once set, remove from belly from the fridge and portion into 100g pieces

42

Just before serving, sear on the barbecue until caramelised

43

Season the sausage with table salt, then straighten the sausage with your hands

44

Cook in a pan ensuring the sausage is roasted equally

45

Add butter, thyme and garlic to taste. Baste the sausage with butter, then rest and carve

46

Season the loin with table salt then sear in a pan over high heat for 10 seconds on each side

47

Add butter, thyme, and garlic to the pan, and baste the loin then remove from the pan

48

Cook for one minute on each side in the oven then flip. Repeat until cooked

49

Rest the loin for 5 minutes then carve

50

Slice the oyster mushrooms into quarters, and sear on one side then season to taste

51

Serve the loin on each plate with some venison sauce, and two pieces of mushroom and a piece of the sausage. Place some ketchup on the plate, and garnish with a blackberry half. Place some celeriac purée on the plate and garnish with some of the celeriac crumb and a round of raw celeriac. Place the venison belly in a separate bowl, garnish with some of the goat's cheese mousse and then dust with powdered potato skin

  • celeriac, sliced into round, thin slivers, for garnish

Tom Shepherd cut his teeth in Michelin-starred kitchens working for the likes of Michael Wignall and Sat Bains, before winning Staffordshire its first ever Michelin star at his own restaurant, Upstairs, located above his father’s jewellery shop. His success is a result of an ethos centred around drawing as much flavour as possible out of every single ingredient on the plate.

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