I became a convert to venison when I ate it in a restaurant in Warsaw recently. There is plenty of wild game in Poland, and the chef, Marek, had been hunting; he prepared a beautiful fillet served with puréed pumpkin, kale and braised lentils. This is the way I recreate the dish at home; it makes a wonderful autumn or winter dinner party dish, served with leafy greens, such as kale or rainbow chard. Venison has less fat than a skinned chicken breast, is high in iron and has plenty of healthy omega-3 fats. Choose free-range or wild venison, not farmed.
- Yield: 4 Servings
- 3 tbsp vegetable oil, preferably organic
- 1 pumpkin or butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed
- bunch of fresh thyme, leaves picked
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 5 fl oz 2/3 cup (150 ml) chicken stock, preferably homemade
- 1 tsp butter
- 5 oz 2/3 cup (150 ml) double (heavy) cream
- 4 venison steaks
- Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6. Line a large baking sheet with baking parchment, drizzle over 1 tablespoon of oil and scatter over the pumpkin and thyme leaves. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle over some more oil. Roast for 20 minutes or until the pumpkin is golden brown on the outside and soft in the middle. Transfer the cooked pumpkin to a food processor, blitz to a purée and loosen with the stock, adding the butter and the cream.
- Heat a large frying pan over a high heat. Rub the venison steaks with oil and season on both sides with salt and pepper. Sear the steaks in the hot pan for 3–4 minutes on each side, until cooked to your liking. Remove from the pan and leave the steaks to rest for a few minutes, then serve with the pumpkin purée and some wilted greens.