Slow-roasted saddle of venison, red cabbage and chestnut puree

Michael Caines creates an impressive flavour combination of venison, smoky red cabbage and chesnuts.
By Michael Caines
Slow-roasted saddle of venison, red cabbage and chestnut puree
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time:
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Effort: medium


For the venison

  • 800 g saddle of venison steaks
  • 30 g unsalted butter
  • dash vegetable oil
  • pinch ground juniper berries
  • salt and black pepper

For the red cabbage

  • 1 kg red cabbage, finely sliced
  • 100 g onions, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 70 g butter
  • 80 g redcurrant jelly
  • 70 smoked pork belly, trimmed
  • 50 ml port
  • 250 ml red wine
  • 70 ml red wine vinegar
  • 80 g demerara sugar
  • juice of half an oranges
  • juice of half a lemons
  • spices, wrapped in a muslin bag (½ cinnamon stick, 1 dried orange peel, 1 clove, 4 juniper berries, 4 black peppercorns, 1 star anise, 3 sprigs of thyme, 1 bay leaf)

For the chestnut puree

  • 250 g frozen chestnuts
  • 100 ml chicken stock
  • 200 ml water
  • 20 g unsalted butter
  • 20 g shallots, sliced
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 bouquet garni
  • 10 white peppercorns, wrapped in a clean plastic money bag


1. For the red cabbage: preheat the oven to 180C/gas mark 4. Place the onion and garlic in a pan with the butter and cook until soft and transparent.

2. In a separate pan, mix the red wine, red wine vinegar, port, lemon and orange juice, demerara sugar and redcurrant jelly. Warm together and then place in an ovenproof dish, along with the red cabbage. Add the spice bag, smoked belly pork and season with salt and pepper. Place in the oven and cook for 1.5-2 hours. When cooked, remove from the oven, check the seasoning and leave to cool.

3. To make the chestnut puree: place the onions, garlic and salt in a pan with the butter. Cook until soft and transparent, then add the chicken stock, bouquet garni, water, chestnuts and bag of peppercorns. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 10-15 minutes. When cooked, remove from the heat and leave to cool before straining the liquid into a bowl, leaving the mixture in the colander. Remove the bouquet garni and bag of peppercorns. Place the mixture in a blender or food processor and blend to a fine puree. Use some of the braising stock if it is too thick.

4. To cook the venison: preheat the oven to 200c/gas mark 6. Season the meat with a little of the ground juniper berries, salt and pepper. Heat the oil and butter in a thick-bottomed pan, add the venison and cook in the foaming butter, turning from time to time to ensure it is cooked evenly. For medium rare, take a kitchen skewer and insert it into the middle of the venison and count to 7. Remove and place the skewer below your lip to feel if it is warm to the touch. If it is, remove the venison and rest for 20 minutes.

5. Reheat the chestnut puree and red cabbage and place the venison into the oven for 5 minutes.

6. To serve, place a small amount of chestnut puree on the plate in a line from left to right, then a large spoonful of red cabbage into the middle of the plate. Remove the venison from the oven and slice it into medallions. Place even amounts on top of the red cabbage and serve.

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