Venison: a great-tasting meat that's packed with nutrients and can often be cost-effective – but is often overshadowed by beef simply because people aren't sure how to cook it. Nichola Fletcher has been working with venison for more than 40 years, and has put together The Venison Bible as an accessible guide. Here's one of her favourite recipes.
- 600–800g venison steak, thick cut
- 85g smoked streaky bacon, snipped into pieces
- 2 large, thick carrots, peeled
- 2 slim leeks
- 2 courgettes
- 1 clove of garlic, chopped and crushed
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped or sliced fresh ginger
- Zest of ½ a lemon or lime
- Juice of 1 lemon or lime
- Handful of chopped parsley or coriander
If you think the meat is too bloody when it is sliced up, return the slices to the frying pan and stir them about in the warm pan juices. Don't actually cook them; just warm them through very gently until well coated, and by the time you are eating them, they will be less rare. Don’t overcook.
- Gently fry the bacon until golden brown. Reserve and keep warm.
- Cut the leeks into 15cm (6in) lengths. Discard any coarse outer and top leaves from the leeks, cut off the root, and slice the rest in four lengthways to produce fine strips rather than rings. Wash thoroughly to remove any grit, and pat dry.
- Using a potato peeler, slice off thin ribbons of carrot lengthways. Turn the carrot round as you slice, and continue for as long as you can make strips.
- Repeat this procedure with the courgette.
- Sweat the leeks, garlic and ginger in oil over a low flame, turning them gently with tongs until they start to soften. Add the carrot and continue the cooking gently, again turning them carefully with tongs until the carrot becomes floppy, then add the courgette and lime zest.
- Cook and turn for a further minute or so, until the courgette starts to become translucent. Be careful not to overcook, or the ribbons will break up. Stir in the lemon or lime juice and keep it warm.
- Brown the steaks in a hot frying pan for 1½ minutes per side; fry slowly for 1½ minutes per cm thickness; then rest for 1 minute per cm.
- To serve, place the warm vegetables with their juices in a large warm dish or onto individual plates. Slice the steak thinly and pile the slices on top of the vegetables. Sprinkle the bacon pieces on top along with the parsley/coriander.