Venison with Thyme, Honey and Port

Cook time : 20 mins

Ingredients: 1 tblsp olive oil; 1 bunch thyme (about 10 stems); 4 x 175g (6oz) venison steaks; 125ml (4 fl oz) red wine; 60g (2oz) shitake mushrooms, sliced; 2 tsp light flavoured honey; 125ml (4 fl oz) port. To serve: rosti potatoes

  • Heat the oil in a large pan, sprinkle in the thyme and add the steaks. Cook for about 1 1/2 minutes on each side for rare, or longer according to taste. Leave the thyme in the pan, but lift out the steak and keep warm on a serving dish.
  • Add the wine and mushrooms to the pan, increase the heat and simmer until the liquid his reduced by half. Add the honey and port and reduce again until there are about 6 tbsp of sauce left.
  • Serve the steaks with a little sauce and rosti potatoes.
  • This sauce is the ideal accompaniment to any red meat or duck breast.

Venison Stew with Horseradish Dumplings

Serves:  6

Ingredients:  The Stew:  1 kg / 2lb 4oz cubed venison; 2 onions, chopped; 2 tbsp flour; 2 cloves garlic, crushed; 1 large carrot, cut across into 1cm / 1/2 in sections; 1 stick celery, chopped; 1 tbsp sugar; 2 bay leaves; 3 sprigs thyme; salt and pepper; 600ml / 1 pt red wine; 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil; 2 tbsp corn flour

The Dumplings:  100g / 3 1/2oz fresh white breadcrumbs; 100g / 3 1/2oz plain flour; 100g / 3 1/2oz suet; 2 level tsp baking powder; salt and pepper; 2 eggs beaten; ready-made horseradish sauce

  • Place all the stew ingredients except cornflour in a large, lidded ovenproof casserole, and leave to marinate for 24 hours.
  • Heat the oven to 170oC/325oF/Gas Mark 3 and cook the casserole just as it is for 1 hour, by which time it should be bubbling.  Turn down the heat to 150oC/300oF/gas mark 2 and continue to cook for about 3 hours or until the meat is really tender.
  • Just before serving make the dumplings.  Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl and season well, then bind with the egg to make a firm dough.  Divide into 12 equal portions and roll each into a ball.  Poke a small hole in the side of each ball, fill with horseradish sauce and close the hole, sealing well.
  • Mix the cornflour with 3 tbsp water until smooth, then stir into the stew, sit the dumplings on top, and return the casserole, covered, to the oven for another 20 min or until the dumplings are well risen and cooked through.

Serve on its own or with creamy mashed potatoes.