Jose Souto extols the virtues of wild deer meat with a tasty pulled venison recipe for Shooting Times. Serves 10
Pulled venison recipe – Creole style
I would recommend using roe or fallow for this lip-smacking Creole-style pulled venison recipe. (Read here on which deer species offers delicious venison.)
- 2 shoulders of roe, or 1 fallow shoulder
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 2 tsp onion powder
- 3 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp chilli powder
- olive oil
- 1 litre dark venison stock, or chicken stock
- 1 onion, finely diced
- 2 cloves garlic, finely diced
- 1 red pepper and 1 green pepper, small dice
- 3 sticks celery, peeled and small dice
- 2 tsp tomato puree
- 2 tins chopped tomatoes
- a good sprig of thyme
- 2 large tomatoes, skinned, deseeded and diced
- 1 tbsp shredded basil
- Start with the venison shoulder, cutting through the joints so that it is in smaller, more manageable pieces. Place half of the garlic and onion powder into a bowl with half of the smoked paprika and the chilli powder. Add a little drizzle of olive oil and mix to make a paste. Rub the paste all over the meat and season well. To cook sous vide, place the shoulder pieces into a vacuum-pack bag with 100ml of stock.
- Heat the water bath to 75°C and then cook overnight so that, once cooked, the meat can be pulled off the bone and into strips. To cook in the oven, do the same but use all of the stock, so that it covers the meat. Then bring to boil and put it in a dish with a tight-fitting lid. Cook it in the oven at 180°C for three to four hours, or until the meat pulls off the bone.
- Drain the liquid, pass it through a sieve and skim off any fat. Wearing gloves, pull the meat from the bone and then pull into strips while it is still hot. Allow it to cool without it drying out. Bring the cooking liquid to the boil and reduce by half if sous vide or by two-thirds if cooking in the oven.
- Sweat off the onion and garlic for four to five minutes, then add the peppers and celery and cook for a further three to four minutes. Add the rest of the spices and cook for another two to three minutes on a low heat. Add the tomato puree and cook for another two minutes.
- Add the stock, tinned tomatoes and thyme. Bring to boil and simmer so the sauce thickens as it reduces. Once the sauce is at a light coating consistency, stir in the meat and chopped tomatoes. Bring back to boil for three to four minutes, ensuring the meat is hot. Finally, stir in the shredded basil and serve with rice.
Why I stalk
Friends and students frequently ask me why I stalk and wonder why I can’t simply buy my meat from the supermarket like everybody else. The people asking the question often do not have any connection with the countryside or with shooting. The aim of my response is therefore to educate an audience that is misinformed and wrong on a number of levels.
Deer need to be managed. We have six species in an environment that should only have two. This puts pressure on Britain’s flora, fauna and agriculture. And because there is no natural predation on the deer in the UK, it is up to us to manage the herds.
Stalking is not cruel, as some people would have us believe. A stalked deer has no idea that you are there; the kill is quick and efficient and allows the animal to die without stress in its own environment. I would suggest this is far better than the situation with domesticated animals that are transported to unfamiliar surroundings and run through a slaughterhouse.
The next time someone asks you about venison and deerstalking, remember that these animals have all lived a natural life. They are as free range as you can get and lived at the highest level of animal welfare before harvest.
It is of the utmost importance that those people who don’t know this are educated on the subject. We can start by showing what great meat wild deer can produce – which this pulled venison recipe shows deliciously.