Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Discovering local venison - burgers and steaks!

A twitter follower recently alerted me to a local source of venison in Berkeley, Gloucestershire. I got so excited that I hopped in the car and went on a beautiful road-trip south of the County to Berkeley Castle Estate where I made an incredible discovery; local, free roaming venison; Burgers, sausages, steaks, mince and much more.  The venison comes from Whitcliff Deer Park in Ham, Berkeley and Spetchley Deer Park in Worcestershire and you can buy it direct from the Berkeley Estate who can take orders for any specific requirements you may have.
(For more information and contact details visit the Berkeley Estate website!)

The popularity of venison is growing year on year - mainly due to it's health benefits and being such a lean and tasty meat - it's also incredibly easy to cook too.  So why not try some yourself?

I served my burger with sweet potato fries - SO tasty, once you've tried sweet potato fries, normal fries just don't compare (and feel like puffs of tasteless air).  I popped the burger in a bun with a Cereiac Romalade, topped with tomato, gherkins and red onion.  Simple, but so tasty, my friend whaffled down two of them.

I also made a mustard mayo to go with the chips.  Wow, I forget how easy it is to make your own mayo and how much nicer and natural it is than the stuff in the jar.

Celeriac remoulade
2 large free-range egg yolks
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp wholegrain mustard
2 tsp white wine vinegar
150ml/5fl oz sunflower oil
50ml/2fl oz good-quality extra virgin olive oil
pinch salt
1 small celeriac

Sweet potato fries
2 large Sweet potatoes, skins on, cut into thin slices.
about 50ml Olive oil
Corse salt and cracked pepper

To serve
1 red onion, finely sliced
3 gherkins, drained, sliced
4 soft white bread rolls, cut in half
tomato ketchup

For the celeriac remoulade, put the egg yolks, mustards and vinegar into the bowl of a food processor and blend until well combined.

With the motor still running, gradually add the sunflower oil in a thin stream, until the mixture thickens.
Add the olive oil in the same way, until the mixture is creamy in texture. Taste and add a drop or two more vinegar, if necessary. Season to taste with salt.

Peel and grate the celeriac on a cheese grater.  Mix together with the mayo to bind it together and set it to one side.

Meanwhile preheat the oven to 210 degrees. For the sweet potato fries, cut into thin slices and line a baking tray with parchment paper.  Brush the paper with oil and lay the fries on top.  then brush each slice with some more oil.  Season wth a good helping of coarse salt and pepper.  Cook for approx 20 minutes until just golden and starting to crisp up.

Heat a frying or griddle pan.  Brush each Venison burger with sunflower oil and season with salt and pepper well.

When the pan is starting to smoke (no oil in it, always oil the meat, not the pan!)  add the burger and cook for approx 3 minutes each side and then take off the heat and leave to rest.  Venison is lovely a little medium.

Cut open a bread roll, slater the celeriac on the bottom and place a burger on top - now top with sliced tomato, onion and gherkin.   And enjoy.

Now, if you're gluten intolorant, or want something a little more carb-free, then the Venison steaks are for you!

At just over £4 for two humungous steaks, it's ridiculous value for such a quality, free ranging, local and organic piece of meat.  SO healthy too.  Packed full of goodness!

I simply cooked mine and served with a Bearnaise Sauce, some roasted tomatos and some of the sweet potato fries.  It was like a posh, healthy version of the burger!

2 venison steaks
2 tbsp sunflower oil
25 g unsalted butter

I got my bĂ©arnaise sauce from Tesco from their Finest selection.  It was a simple task of heating up - so super-quick, but if you want to make your own, try the recipe here.  This sauce smells and tastes incredible!

Brush your steaks with sunflower oil and a generous helping of salt and pepper.
Put a frying pan over a medium heat and when it start to smoke, add the venison steaks.  Then add the butter to the pan.  Cook for approx 3 minutes on each side.   Remove steaks and leave to rest on a chopping board for the juices to relax and distribute to the meat.  This makes the steaks amazingly delicious and tender.

Serve with some oven roasted tomatoes on the vine, the sauce and some of those delicious sweet potato fries.

Eating local produce is great for the local economy, reduces carbon footprint, and above all, you know where the meat has come from, how it's been lovingly cared for and reared, and I was surprised at how incredibly reasonable the price was too - you'd never get it at this price in the supermarket!
(For more information, local farm shops that supply and contact details visit the Berkeley Estate website! but be quick, the season ends at the end of April - so enjoy it now while it's still available.)

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