There is something humbling about cooking game. You feel privileged and appreciative of wildlife that has been providing food for centuries to our ancestors.  That very appreciation disciplines you to buy only what you need and use every strip of the meat to eliminate waste.

Game meat is leaner, lower in cholesterol than traditionally produced beef or pork. It has uniquely deep flavour and it is unquestionably natural and free range.

The recipe comes from my time at Rules restaurant in London. It uses the venison shoulder – a hard working muscle best suited for slow cooking that transforms even the toughest piece of meat into tender, succulent and beautifully comforting supper.

We serve ours with British purple sprouting broccoli, which comes to season in late winter/early spring having been pampered for 7-8 months. Use all the leaves and simmer for 3-4 minutes until tender yet slightly firm on the stem. Season it with fresh black pepper, a crack of sea salt and toss in butter.



  • 400g Venison shoulder cut into 1.5 inch thick, trimmed from fat and sinew
  • 2tbsp dripping, duck fat or British rapeseed oil
  • 2 thick rashers of smoked bacon cut into 1cm strips
  • 6 large peeled shallots
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled and left whole
  • 1 medium leek, washed cut into four
  • 1 brave glass of red wine
  • 2lt good chicken stock (or 2 chicken stock cubes dissolved in 2lt water)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 cloves of grated garlic
  • 1 sprig of thyme
  • 1 sprig of rosemary
  • 2 peels of orange zest
  • 2 peels of lemon zest
  • 8 crushed juniper berries
  • 6 chestnut mushrooms (cut into 6)
  • 8 crushed black peppercorns
  • 4 crushed cloves
  • 1” cinnamon bark
  • 1tbsp tomato purée
  • 3tbsp flour
  • good pinch of salt and freshly milled black pepper to season

Side dish

Purple sprouting broccoli (as much as you like), wash, split stalk in two. Steamed buckwheat.



Pre heat the oven at 140°C. Heat the fat in a casserole dish or thick bottom pan with a tight fitting lid. Toss the venison in the mixture of flour, salt and  black pepper.

Shake off any excess flour and place in the casserole pan and fry the meat until brown. Remove the venison and place the carrots, mushrooms,  shallots and bacon in the casserole dish and colour until golden brown.

Add the leek, garlic, juniper, peppercorns, cinnamon, thyme, rosemary, lemon and orange peel. Cook for 3-4 minutes then pour in the wine and reduce the liquids down in order to concentrate the flavor and burn off the alcohol.

Sprinkle the leftover flour and tomato puree and cook for 2-3 minutes. Pour in the stock and stir in the venison. Bring to boil and skim off any fat that comes to surface.  Place a tight fitting lid and place into the oven.

Check the venison after 2 -2.5 hours. The meat should be tender but not falling apart. Carefully drain off the vegetables and meat then return the cooking liquor back to the stove and reduce by half. Then return the meat and vegetables to the sauce.


This dish is better if allowed to rest in fridge for 2-3 days.

It freezes well.