As the season changes from summer into autumn, it’s not only the landscape that changes, but our taste buds change too as different seasonal ingredients start to appear on the menu.
At this time of year we begin to enjoy seasonal meats with a more robust taste that work well with a variety of winter vegetables. A prime example of a favourite autumn seasonal food is wild British venison.
Venison was historically considered to be a status symbol and the preserve of the rich. However, this once special occasion product has seen sales increase year-on-year as it is enjoyed by increasing numbers who consider it to be a tasty, healthy option.
Although farmed venison is available all year round, the wild venison season is from October to December. At Farmers & Fletchers in the City we purchase only seasonal wild red deer meat from Scotland, supplied by IMS of Smithfield, a family run company with an impeccable 40-year history in the business that has a long established relationship with its suppliers in Scotland. (www.imsofsmithfield.com)
According to Tony Meadows, senior sales manager at IMS of Smithfield: “I consider wild Scottish venison to be the king of red meats. It has a third of the fat of chicken, higher iron content than any other red meat, is low in cholesterol, is packed with vitamins, is a good source of protein and is free of antibiotics.
“Venison is a very versatile meat and can be eaten as steaks, tenderloin, T-bone, sausages or mince. It has a flavour similar to aged beef, but is richer, has a finer texture and is leaner.”
Farmers & Fletchers in the City’s head chef, David Summerell agrees with Tony Meadow’s endorsement: “Venison continues to grow in popularity and is a popular choice at this time of year for a lunch or dinner. There are a variety of cuts available and it goes well with other autumnal flavours such as wild mushrooms and berries.”
“One idea might be to take a leaf out of the royal family’s cook book. HRH the Prince of Wales, who put together the menu for the Queen’s 80th birthday dinner at Kew Palace, selected venison from the Sandringham Estate, which was served in a juniper berry sauce for the main course.”
Tony Meadows, however, enjoys his venison with no sauce as he likes the meat to take centre stage. At home he just pan frys venison steaks for two minutes each side, pops them in the oven for three to five minutes and then brings them out to rest.
The signs are that wild Scottish venison will continue to be one of our best loved seasonal foods. If you would like to discuss menu ideas using wild Scottish venison at an event you are planning, David Summerell will be very happy to discuss ideas with you – call 0207 600 2064.
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