Chef Tony Heath of Kinfauns cook school on Roe Deer venison

Chef's choice - The Perthshire Larder

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Chef Tony Heath of Kinfauns cook school on Roe Deer venison

Perthshire has always been renowned for game, and enthusiasts come from all over the world to shoot it, whether feathered or on the hoof. My ultimate favourite has to be roe deer, which is very plentiful and therefore readily available. Don’t even think about the Bambi image because they are much smaller than their red deer cousins - instead just think about the quality and tenderness of the meat, and also consider the fact that many consider them to be pests.

Even those who have never really enjoyed venison in the past would be easily swayed by a few tender slices of quickly cooked loin of roe. A piece perhaps four inches long, off the bone, will cook in about three minutes having been sealed and basted in the pan, put into a moderate oven (200C) then, and most importantly, rested. It really does seem to melt in the mouth and is nowhere near as strong as red deer can sometimes appear to be. Add to this the fact that it is very low in cholesterol and you have a great way to enjoy some local protein.

Roe deer loin is a perfect meat for restaurant menus, partnered with pears poached in red wine, perhaps a beetroot tarte tatin, some Savoyard potatoes and a light gravy made from the juices. Many farmers’ markets will have a game supplier, alternatively George Campbell & Sons in Perth or Hubertus Game will normally stock it too.

Tony Heath runs a cook school in Kinfauns by Perth. He’s also an occasional chef at The Apron Stage in Stanley.

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