Noisettes of Venison with Foie Gras and Madeira Sauce

Venison is an overworked word that has to do duty for the meat of anything antlered. Generally it means the flesh of red, fallow or roe deer. There is little point asking the butcher which is on offer any more than enquiring which breed of lamb or beef is on the slab. Yet they are different in several respects: size, tenderness and taste.

Recently killed venison doesn’t taste much different from recently killed beef. Its flavour develops and matures with hanging. Really well hung venison is magnificent and never needs marinating. You may have to shave off the outer layer of a particularly ripe joint, but it will be worth it for the superior texture and taste.

The venison in this dish is cooked like Tournedos Rossini, with foie gras and Madeira sauce. Use the eye of the meat from the saddle. The bones will make a gamey Madeira sauce.


  • 1 lb (450 g) venison fillet, cut from the saddle groundnut oil
  • 4 oz (100 g) duck foie gras
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 slices white bread


  • venison bones
  • 1 onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 leek, trimmed and chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 1 teaspoon tomato purée
  • ½ teaspoon arrowroot
  • 2 fl oz (50 ml) Malmsey Madeira
  • 1 oz (25 g) unsalted butter


The sauce

  1. Take the saddle bones and chop them into small, maybe ½ in (1 cm., pieces. Fry them in a little oil in a large saucepan until they are brown. Fry the vegetables and, as they brown, add the tomato purée, letting it fry for a few seconds. Add 1 pint (600 ml) of cold water and bring to the boil.
  2. Skim off any surface scum and then simmer the stock for 30 minutes. Strain the stock into a small saucepan and re-boil. Moisten the arrowroot with a few drops of the Madeira, and lightly thicken the sauce with it. Add the remaining Madeira.

The venison and Foie Gras

  • Cut the venison fillet into eight 2 oz (50 g) noisettes. Season them with salt and pepper.
  • Brush the noisettes with oil and fry in a hot pan. I prefer it medium rare, about 2 minutes each side, but you cook it as you wish.
  • Clean the pan with kitchen paper, then fry the foie gras briefly on both sides. Lift out on to kitchen paper. Pour off the fat from the pan and add the Madeira sauce. Let it boil a few seconds, then whisk in the butter and strain into a jug.

To Complete

  • Toast the bread, then cut it into the shape of the noisettes.
  • Assemble thus. If you are serving any green vegetable like spinach, use it as a base. Place two pieces of toast on each plate. Then the noisettes of venison. Then the foie gras. Lastly the sauce.