The venison guru’s top tips for cooking venison

Picture of Nichola Fletcher

Nichola Fletcher was awarded an MBE for services to venison. She, along with her husband, John, set-up the first deer farm in Scotland – Reediehill Deer FarmAuchtermuchty in 1973. She is the author of Venison, The Monarch of the Table (1983) and Nichola Fletcher’s Ultimate Venison Cookery (2007). The book won the Gourmand World Cookbook Award’s prize for Best single subject in the world in 2008.

Here she shares her tips on cooking Venison

  • DON’T overcook venison roasts or steaks; cook it less than beef, not more; it retains heat so can overcook.
  • If you serve venison pink it is impossible for it to be dry. Easiest way to achieve this is to part cook it and then rest it to complete the cooking gently.
  • If you serve venison pink there is no need to bard it (ie wrap it in fat or bacon). It will be moist without the fat.

When cooking venison pink, the cooking time is determined by its thickness, not its weight.

  • If you think the venison is too bloody when it is sliced up, return the slices to the frying pan and stir them about in the warm pan juices. Warm them through very gently until well coated, and by the time they are served, they will be less rare. Don’t overcook them though.
  • Older venison can turn from very rare to overdone very quickly; younger venison is a bit more flexible.
  • Good venison doesn’t need marinating – its own flavour is too good to drown. But if you want to marinate it, just an hour or so is plenty. You can gain the flavours just as well by cooking it in wine and spices.

Buy Nichola Fletcher’s Ultimate Venison Cookery £20, and The Venison Bible £4.99, direct from Nichola Fletcher. email nichola.fletcher@btconnect.com

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