You would think that with all the wild game in the forests here venison would be in plentiful supply, easy to get and frequently eaten. But in fact you rarely see even farmed venison available for sale and if you want to get your hands on some wild game you need to be friendly enough with a hunter that he offers it to you. The hunters all have freezers full of the stuff, but they are not allowed to sell it because it is butchered in the field or at home. So hunters tend to have a repertoire of charcuterie, at least one outbuilding full of freezers chockablock with game, and their friends and dogs sometimes get lucky. So, last winter I was lucky enough to get my hands on some venison cutlets, and this is what I did with them.
6 venison cutlets
1 tbsp butter
A clove of garlic, crushed
1/2 cup white wine
1 tsp prepared mustard
Salt and pepper (ideally, a peppercorn mix that includes pimento)
1.5 cups mixed celeriac and potato mash*
1/4 of a small cabbage, shredded and steamed
A leek, cleaned, sliced and sweated in butter
An egg, beaten
2 tbsp wholemeal flour
1 tbsp butter (for frying)
Olive oil (for frying)
- Colcannon -- mix all the ingredients for the colcannon together and form into 4 patties. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
- Venison -- place the cutlets on a plate in a single layer, season with salt and pepper. Leave them out about 30 minutes to get to room temperature.
- Melt butter and olive oil in two frying pans over medium heat.
- Add the colcannon cakes to one and the venison cutlets to the other. Fry for 3 minutes.
- Turn the colcannon cakes and reduce the heat to low.
- Turn the cutlets and fry for a further 3 minutes.
- Remove the cutlets and set aside to keep warm.
- Deglaze the cutlet pan with the wine, add the garlic and mustard, boil until reduced enough to have thickened slightly into a sauce.
- Serves 2.
*I make mixed mash in batches for three meals for two people ie 6 servings. Peel half a celeriac and cut into 2 cm dice. Scrub three large potatoes and cut into 2 cm dice. Cook them together until soft then mash with some butter and milk. Freeze whatever you don't need for this recipe in two batches for future meals. Mash can be reheated in the microwave (from frozen or thawed) by cooking for a couple of minutes, stirring with a fork, and returning to the microwave as necessary.
As always, I sourced the vegetables for this recipe from my local organic market garden, Le Jardin Verger de la Petite Rabaudière, who sell from the farm on Monday evenings, are at Preuilly market on Thursday mornings, and supply the Maison des Producteurs in Loches (near Noz and SuperU).