Fallow deer with sweetcorn, kale and black garlic

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Venison loin is served up perfectly pink with a crispy cigar filled with the trimmings and crispy potatoes. Sweetcorn is added two ways; a silky purée and some charred kernels tossed in a delicious black garlic butter. The butter, sauce and purée can all be made in advance. The recipe will also make more butter than needed, but any leftover can be kept in portions in the freezer – it is delicious with steak!

First published in 2022




Venison and Cigar

  • 1 venison loin
  • 4 spring roll wrappers
  • 200ml of beef stock
  • 1 egg, beaten with a pinch of salt
  • sunflower oil, for deep-frying and frying

Red wine sauce

Sweetcorn purée

Crispy potato



  • Blender
  • Blowtorch
  • Sous vide equipment



Begin with the venison. Trim the venison loin into a neat cylinder, removing all the fat, sinew and chain. Reserve these trimmings for the cigars. Note you need an additional 150g of venison trimmings for the sauce, which you may also be able to get from your loin; just ensure your final cylinder of loin is enough to serve 4 people. Wrap the venison loin tightly in cling film to form a tight tube, vacuum pack (if you have one) and set aside for cooking


Place a heavy-bottomed lidded pan over a high heat with a splash of oil. Once smoking hot add the reserved venison trimmings. Sear on all sides until golden brown, then add the beef stock. Bring to the boil then turn down to a simmer and cover with a tight-fitting lid. Leave to braise for 45 minutes or until the meat is tender, then leave to cool

  • 200ml of beef stock

Once cool, separate the meat and the liquid. Reduce the cooking liquid until thick and glossy. Shred the meat and mix with the reduced cooking liquid. Leave to cool before shaping into 4 separate sausages (weighing approx. 45g each)


Egg wash the spring roll wrappers (cutting them into neat squares if needed) and place the venison sausage on top. Fold the sides in and roll up and seal so it's nice and tight. Set aside ready to deep-fry

  • 4 spring roll wrappers
  • 1 egg, beaten with a pinch of salt

To make the sauce, place a heavy-based pan over a high heat and, once hot, add a splash of oil and the trimmings. Cook until heavily caramelised, then remove from the pan and turn down to a medium heat. Add the shallots, garlic, bay and thyme with a little more oil if needed, and slowly caramelise for about 10 minutes


Once the shallots are golden brown, add the red wine and port, bring to a simmer then reduce to 175ml. Then add the meat trimmings back into the pan along with both the stocks. Simmer for 20 minutes or until at a sauce consistency, continuously skimming off any scum from the surface. Pass through a fine sieve and reserve for reheating later


To make the sweetcorn purée, place all the ingredients in a pan and bring to the boil. Once boiling, turn down to a simmer and place a circle of greaseproof paper on top. Cook until all of the liquid has evaporated – keep a close eye on it so it doesn’t stick. Transfer to a blender, blitz until smooth then pass through a fine sieve. Taste and season


To make the charred sweetcorn, blacken the outside of the corn on the cob using a blowtorch. Leave to cool a little, then slice off the kernels using a knife. Set aside

  • 1 fresh corn on the cob

To make the black garlic butter, place both in a blender and blitz until smooth. Set aside at room temperature until needed


To make the crispy potatoes, peel and square off the potatoes to remove any curved edges. Turn each potato on its end so it's stood up on its tallest side and use a round cutter or apple corer to cut perfectly round cylinders. Cut each of these cylinders in half to give you a total of 8 equal cylinders


Place a heavy-based frying pan over a medium heat and add the butter. Once the butter has melted and started to foam, add the potato cylinders. Keep rolling them around in the pan for 10–12 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through. Finish with a pinch of rock salt and keep warm


You can cook the venison sous vide or in a pan. If cooking sous vide, preheat a sous vide water bath or circulator to 58ºC. Submerge the vacuum-packed venison and leave to cook for 20 minutes. Once the 20 minutes are up, remove the venison from the water and remove from the bag. Pat dry on a kitchen towel and season with plenty of salt. Sear heavily on all sides in a griddle pan or on a hot barbecue turning continuously, then leave to rest before carving


Alternatively, place a large frying pan over a high heat and, once smoking, add a dash of oil. Season the venison loin with salt and pepper and place in the pan. Cook for 5 minutes and then turn to sear the other side for a further 3 minutes. Set aside to rest


As the meat rests, heat up a deep-fat fryer or pan of oil to 180ºC. Deep-fry the kale until crisp – be careful as it may spit. Drain on kitchen paper and season with salt. Deep-fry the cigars until crisp and golden, then drain on kitchen paper

  • sunflower oil, for deep-frying and frying
  • 1/2 bunch of kale, ideally rainbow kale if you can find it

Gently reheat the sauce and purée and warm the charred sweetcorn kernels in a pan with a knob of the black garlic butter


To plate, place a spoonful of the sweetcorn puree on the right hand side of a large dinner plate and spread across evenly. Spoon some kernels over the purée and top with the potatoes, cigar and crispy kale. Carve the venison and place by the side, finishing with some red wine sauce

First published in 2022

Tom Westerland is the head chef at Crockers Henley.

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