Poached and roasted saddle of venison with chestnut sauce

Mathew Fort makes the most of seasonal venison by wrapping it in pancetta, poaching and roasting it and serving it with a creamy chestnut sauce
By Matthew Fort
Poached and roasted saddle of venison with chestnut sauce
  • Rating:
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Effort: medium


  • 1 venison fillet
  • 100 unsmoked pancetta, cut into thin slices
  • pepper

For the chestnut sauce

  • 1 onion
  • 1 sticks celery
  • 1 medium carrot
  • 55 g unsalted butter
  • 115 ml glass white wine
  • 115 ml glass marsala
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp black peppercorns
  • 565 ml stock
  • 150 g cooked chestnuts, peeled

To serve

  • stir-fried shredded carrots
  • swede and cabbage

Tips and Suggestions

if you make the chestnut sauce with stock from the bones from the saddle, make the stock the day before. I just boiled the bones in water and then reduced it down until I got the concentration of flavour that I wanted. You could beef it up with pork (e.g. spare ribs) or unsmoked bacon or chicken bones or whatever.


1. Lay out a piece of cling film a bit longer than the fillet of venison. Place the venison on top. Cover the fillet with overlapping slices of pancetta. Wrap the cling film around the outside to form a long sausage.

2. Poach the fillet at exactly 60 C until the internal temperature of the meat reaches 50C or, if you dont have a meat thermometer, bring a pan of water large enough to take the fillet to a gentle simmer and poach for 20 minutes.

3. Take off the cling film, transfer the fillet and pancetta to a roasting pan and roast at 220C/gas 7 for 10 minutes.

4. Once cooked, let it rest for 30 minutes in a warm oven.

5. For the chestnut sauce: Finely dice the vegetables. Melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the diced vegetables and stew until soft.

6. Turn up the heat and add the white wine. Boil until there is hardly any left. Pour in the marsala and do the same.

7. Add the bay leaves, pepper corns, bay leaves and stock. Cook over a fairly fierce heat for 20 minutes.

8. Strain into another pan. Reduce until you have quite an intense flavour, but still have a decent amount.

9. Chop all but 4 of the chestnuts in the food processor. Add to the stock. Stir until the sauce has thickened up.

10. Just before serving, roughly chop the remaining chestnuts and add to the sauce.

11. Remove the venison from the oven, carve and serve with the sauce and stir-fried shredded carrot, swede and cabbage.

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