Something to fawn over

Finding a match of ingredients that both warms and satisfies, without leaving you feeling like you’ve over-indulged is no mean feat.

This warm venison and squash salad is easily assembled from a few hearty ingredients, pulled together with a rich blackberry, juniper & sage sauce.


Given that music is the best accompaniment to food, these couple of songs should go nicely with your time in the kitchen.

Furns have a brilliant back catalogue of laid back songs, with a new album due this year.

Furns – Forever Yours

Seaside Lovers – Evening Shadows


Your shopping list:
venison leg steaks x 2
shallots x 2
1/2 butternut squash
kale 50g
puy lentils 250g
garlic cloves x 2
fresh thyme

For the sauce:
shallot (finely chopped) x 1
butter 50g
game/chicken stock 200ml
handful juniper berries (crushed)
handful fresh sage
fresh thyme
bay leaves x 3
blackberries 100g
splash of port
half tspn wildflower honey
lemon zest


Ensure you leave your venison to reach room temperature (about 3 hours out the fridge) before starting. 


The sauce
Fry your shallot in the butter, add a tspn of plain flour. Add the port and reduce.
Season well and add your game/chicken stock.

At this point throw in a handful of sage leaves & thyme, the bay leaves, lemon zest, the honey, chopped blackberries and the juniper berries.

Simmer on med-high for around 15 minutes, until it starts to thicken as a sauce.
Season to taste.

Sieve and leave to one side.


The venison

Prepare your lentils by adding the required amount of boiling water, and cooking until soft. Leave to one side.
Or if you bought pre-cooked lentils in the bag, then you can skip this part.

Start by chopping your 1/2 squash into manageable chunks/cubes. Add to a pan with a splash of boiled water (enough to cover up to a 1/3 of the squash chunks).
Season well.
Cover and leave to steam for 15 minutes on medium. Remove and leave to cool, before chopping into small pieces.

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Finely chop your shallots, and grate your garlic into a pan with some oil on a medium heat. Fry gently until soft and add the lentils, thyme and a splash more oil.
Season well.
Introduce the squash and fry on a high heat, without stirring too much, until the squash just starts to brown. Turn off the heat and add the kale, roughly chopped.
Season, cover and leave the kale to gently cook in the residual heat.

If you like your venison pink, fry your well-seasoned steaks for 4 minutes on each side, on med-high. Remove from the heat, wrap in foil and leave to rest for 10 minutes.

At this point reheat your sauce gently.

Unwrap your delicious parcels and pour the juices into the sauce.

Slice your venison, serve with the squash and drizzle with sauce.

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Enjoy x

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