Venison steak with a blueberry sauce
When I first moved to the country I was keen to leave behind my townie past and threw myself into the country life as much as possible.
My husband has lived in the country all his life and so is calmly oblivious to the characteristics required for happy country living.
On an impossible whim to be self sufficient we spent an interesting summer making nettle soup and eating wild rabbit and pigeon.
On our shoot which is predominantly run by men of a certain age I volunteered to go on the small and large game hygiene course so I could become the trained hunter, which I need to be able to prepare game for the restaurant. I hoped this would earn me respect amongst the shoot but I think id have more luck if I could control my unruly Beagle!
A friend of mine was very keen to come and stay on the farm, and drove over from Leeds to see us, when he arrived at our farm he was upset to tell us that he had just seen a deer run over round the corner. Much to his horror, we jumped in the car and went out to find the deer knowing from our recent course that we only had a limited time to deal with it so that the meat wouldn't be contaminated.
In our area we have a healthy deer population which does require some management.
The British Deer Society does an excellent job of maintaining correct stalking standards and deer stalkers are trained to be efficient and conscientious.
A deer stalker will only take a small percentage from the local deer population and will get to know their movements and characteristics.
A poacher on the other hand will take deer indiscriminately with no regard to the maintenance and well-being of the wild deer population.
We only use local wild deer at the restaurant from stalkers I trust, as with any meat it's important to ensure the animal had a good life and a fast exit.
There are some good venison farms which provide a good source of mass produced venison which allows our indigenous deer population to thrive under good management and prevent instinction. However I do think that the dark rich meat from wild venison is superior to the even best beef. Venison is also one of the healthiest meats available with a low fat and cholesterol content.
Venison steak with a blueberry sauce (serves 2)
2 x 6-8oz venison steaks
For the sauce
100g fresh blueberries
2 finely chopped shallots
A glass of good red wine
Sprig of rosemary
2 tbsp orange juice
A knob of butter
Place a little olive oil and cook the shallots until soft.
Add the red wine into the pan with the blueberries. Simmer for 10 minutes until the blueberries have broken down.
Add the rosemary sprig and orange juice and adjust the seasoning to taste. Reduce to a rich thickness, if the sauce becomes too thick add the beef stock and keep reducing until consistency of gravy.
When ready to serve, remove the rosemary, take the sauce from the heat and add the butter, stirring into the hot sauce.
Sear the venison steaks on a hot griddle for no more than 30 seconds either side. Place in a hot oven for 5 minutes and allow to rest for 2 minutes. The venison must be served pink, if it's over cooked it will turn a strange colour and the flavour will be inferior. The venison and sauce is best served with some creamy dauphinoise potato.
Serve with the same wine used for cooking – a good quality New World or a well-aged French Cabernet Sauvignon.
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Weather for Pocklington
Saturday 25 May 2013
Temperature: 4 C to 16 C
Wind Speed: 9 mph
Wind direction: North west
Temperature: 7 C to 18 C
Wind Speed: 12 mph
Wind direction: West