Stockbridge Marinated Venison

My friend Isabel Rutherford goes off every year to Skye. She stalks and, in her gum boots, climbs mountains that would challenge Sir Edmund Hilary. She returns with a battered ten-year-old stag, which even hounds might disdain, and serves it up chargrilled and tender as best fillet. I have wrung out of her the secret, although she is frightfully airy about this magic trick which even Escoffier might envy.


  • a large piece of venison (allow 150g/6oz of meat per person)
  • rind of 1 orange
  • juniper berries
  • allspice
  • a bottle of ordinary claret
  • a bottle of olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • redcurrant jelly


Take your venison and painstakingly cut away all the ‘knicker elastic’ (Isabel’s phrase), put this in a large pot with the orange rind and spices and water and simmer away to form a good stock. If you have an Aga leave the stock in the cool oven for 2 days to form a lovely jelly. Cut the remaining meat into fillets and marinate them in an ocean of claret for 24 hours. Remove them, reserving the wine, pat them dry and cover with olive oil. Add the wine to the stock pot. Leave the venison in the olive oil for another 24 hours. Remove, season and cook on a very hot griddle for a couple of minutes each side. Leave to rest in a warm place for a few minutes and serve with gravy made from your stock pot.