Previously reserved for fancy restaurants, families of hunters or a freezer full of home-kill, venison can now be regularly found on supermarket shelves and may just be the best way to impress friends and family at your next barbecue.
If you've previously tried it and thought 'not for me', it might be time to give it another try. Farmed, pasture-raised venison has a more delicate flavour than its wild counterpart and can be used for anything from hearty casseroles to Asian-inspired salads.
The highly nutritious meat is higher in iron and selenium than beef and lamb, and lower in fat than skinless chicken.
It makes sense then that it's becoming increasingly popular. Research from Silver Fern Farms found that 41 percent of meat consumers are now regularly buying venison, up from 30 percent five years ago.
While New Zealand venison is exported around the globe to the tune of around $200 million annually, it also is very accessible right here at home.
Cooking with it is also a lot easier than you might think. Courtesy of Silver Fern Farms, New Zealand chef Peter Gordon has put together a healthy and delicious recipe so you can try cooking with venison this weekend. While this recipe calls for a pan, you can easily do it on the barbecue if the weather is looking right.
Venison steak, Thai style apple salad, yoghurt and peanuts
For 2 – 3
Beverage match – beer is good with this, with Gordon's current favourite being Citizen Beer's Pilsener.
- 1 x 400g packet venison minute steaks, at room temperature, pat dry with paper
- 1 tsp vegetable oil – use sesame, olive or sunflower
- ½ red onion, peeled and thinly sliced lengthways
- 1 juicy lime or small lemon – finely grate ½ tsp zest, and juice it
- 1 tsp grated palm sugar, or use brown sugar or honey
- ½ red chilli, thinly sliced (more or less to taste)
- 1 small thumb-sized piece of ginger, chopped or grated to give you 1 heaped teaspoon
- 1 ½ tsp fish sauce or soy sauce
- 1 crisp apple, cut into match sticks
- 10 mint leaves, shredded
- 6 stalks coriander, pick the leaves off and cut the stalks 1cm long
- 1 x mini cos lettuce, cut lengthways into 6 – 8 wedges
- ¼ punnet cherry tomatoes, sliced
- ¼ cup coconut yoghurt or plain Greek-style yoghurt
- ¼ cup toasted peanuts, roughly chopped
- Brush the venison on both sides with the oil and leave for 5 minutes
- Rub the sliced onion with ½ tsp salt for 15 seconds – then rinse the salt off and drain
- Mix the lime zest and juice and palm sugar in with the onion and leave a few minutes
- Add the chilli, ginger, fish sauce, apple, mint and coriander stalks and toss together
- Place a pan on high heat.
- When the pan is nice and hot, place the steaks in, not overlapping and cook until coloured – around 40 seconds
- Turn them over and cook another 15 seconds – 1 minute in total is all they need
- Remove to a clean plate to rest
- Toss the lettuce and tomatoes and divide amongst your plates and dollop the yoghurt on
- Slice the venison into strips, sprinkle with a little salt and lay over the lettuce
- Finish with the apple salad, peanuts and coriander leaves