Perfectly cooked venison

Nicola Fletcher, author of Ultimate Venison Cookery, provides tips on buying and cooking venison.

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Perfect venison, cooking tips from an expert

It is an iconic Scottish food; it is delicious; it is comparatively low in fat and cholesterol but high in iron; and is becoming easier to buy. Venison has much to offer the conscience as well as the body – important for people who want to feel reassured about what they eat as well as enjoy its taste. For deer are extensive grass-grazers and do not suffer the indignities of factory-farming.

Forget those negative messages that suggest venison is difficult. Follow two simple rules and cooking fabulous venison dishes is easy. The first is to buy good quality venison, and the right cut for your recipe. Do not be satisfied if it is poorly trimmed or butchered, or if it smells bad – that is not proper venison.

The second rule is to choose one of two basic ways of cooking venison because it is so lean. Cook steaks or joints pink or rare. To do this, brown the venison, part-cook it and then let it rest to finish the cooking. That way it always stays juicy and there is no need to lard it or wrap it in bacon. Alternatively, just braise or stew steaks or diced venison. Large joints do benefit from larding with fat. There is no need to marinate good venison, but you can if you prefer. And that’s it. Perfect venison every time.

Adapted from Nichola Fletcher’s Ultimate Venison Cookery.

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