Roast Venison with Swiss Chard

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We find that the haunch of venison has a better flavour than the saddle and it is also significantly cheaper. Get the butcher to section the haunch into good-sized portions, removing all sinew. The pineapple juice may seem odd but I like to marinate my game in this as it contains the enzyme bromelain, which helps tenderize the meat. It also gives it a little sweetness and most game benefits from that. Redcurrant jelly is also a classic addition.

Swiss chard is a fantastic and versatile vegetable, often ignored and still not readily available. There are numerous varieties, but we tend to use only the green variety, which has a creamy and slightly bitter taste. It is so much better for being cooked or braised for a long period, thus partners all roast meat perfectly and makes an excellent gratin. I wouldn’t use it with fish, however, as its flavour could be too dominant. When buying Swiss chard, choose the younger tender stems, as they require less work. The older ones are coarser and the stems need to be peeled like celery.

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Ingredients

  • 6 portions of venison haunch, each about 200 g
  • 60 g butter
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the Marinade

  • 4 juniper berries, crushed
  • 2 slivers of orange zest
  • 2 tablespoons pineapple juice
  • 200 ml olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • Sprig of rosemary

For the Swiss Chard

  • 6 large stems of Swiss chard
  • Splash of olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed

Method

A few hours ahead, prepare the marinade by mixing all the ingredients in a large bowl and put the meat to marinate in it in the fridge for about 3 hours before cooking.

About 15 minutes before you want to serve, prepare the Swiss chard: wash it well, cut the stems into desirable lengths and tear up the leaves. Sauté the stems in the olive oil with the crushed garlic, salt and pepper until tender. Add a splash of water, then add the leaves, cover and cook slowly until both stems and leaves are tender, about 8–10 minutes.

Heat the butter in a heavy-based pan until it is hot enough to sear the outside of the steaks. Take the meat from the marinade, reserving that. Pat the meat dry and season with salt and pepper, then cook for about 5 minutes on each side until medium rare. Leave to rest for another 5 minutes on a warm plate.

Add the juices from the rested meat to the pan with 2 spoonfuls of the marinade, adjust the seasoning and spoon over the meat. This dish doesn’t need a sauce, just the juices and marinade.

Serve the venison with the cooking juices and the chard.

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