Saddle of Venison with Spinach and Lamb’s Kidneys

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A saddle of venison looks splendid and the moist and piquant spinach lining with its pink and juicy kidneys is an added bonus.

Ingredients

  • 1.7-2 kg (3½-4 lb) piece of saddle of venison, boned
  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Olive oil
  • 500 g (1 lb) spinach, stalks removed and washed
  • 2 rounded teaspoons bottled green peppercorns, drained and crushed
  • 2 rounded teaspoons wholegrain mustard
  • 4–5 lamb’s kidneys, skinned
  • Pork fat for barding (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon sherry or balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 300 ml (½ pint) double cream
  • Sea salt
  • Black pepper

Method

Lay the venison skin side down in a roasting tin. Smear the flesh with the lemon juice and olive oil and sprinkle liberally with pepper. Cover and leave in a cool place for several hours or overnight.

Steam or boil the spinach leaves until very soft. Rinse with cold water and drain thoroughly, pressing out as much liquid as possible. Leave to cool.

Put the crushed green peppercorns in a bowl with the wholegrain mustard. Mix in the spinach and press on to the inside of the venison joint, then place on the lamb’s kidneys and bring the sides of venison flesh up round them. If any spinach oozes out as you do this press it back in. Carefully turn the joint over, and either smear the top with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt or if using, wrap the top half of the joint in the pork fat. Tie the joint at regular intervals. Put the joint in a preheated oven, 220°C, 425°F, Gas Mark 7 and cook for 45–60 minutes.

Meanwhile, put the vinegar and mustard in a bowl and stir in the cream. Season with salt and black pepper. When the venison is cooked, transfer it to a warm serving dish. Pour off any fat from the tin, then add the cream and mustard mixture into the roasting tin with the meat juices. Put over a high heat and bring the sauce to bubbling, stirring all the time. Bubble for a minute and then pour into a sauceboat to serve with the venison.