Hello everyone and sorry for the huge gap between posts. Hope you’ve all had lovely Christmases and Hanukkahs!
In the past two weeks I’ve been to the other side of the world and back, had a quadruple Christmas bonanza and topped it up with a jaunt to Paris. While I recover on a diet of salad and water, here’s the latest in my meat box adventures – the much awaited Christmas Eve venison, followed by a guest appearance from former meat box suppliers Well Hung Meat, in the form of a Christmas Day goose. Enjoy!
Christmas Eve | Blackface saddle of roe
The real statement piece of my Blackface meat box was this 1.65kg saddle of roe. At a not inexpensive £46, it was a wonderful alternative to the Christmas bird – so we decided to cook it for our Xmas eve dinner. I can only link you to this comment by my pal Mike T., who draws strangely appropriate comparisons between the saddle and sci-fi horror fest Event Horizon. With the bone in, the saddle really looks gruesome. And that colour IS the actual colour it was. A vivid magenta; the stuff of nightmares.
To cook the venison, we followed this Guardian guide. What we could have done was roasted it in hay for a smoky flavour, but I think I’ll save that for the mutton rack (yet to come). So having smothered the venison in duck fat and seasoned, we put it in the oven at 220C for 20 minutes. Then poured a glass of red wine all over and lowered the temperature to 150 for another 40 minutes for a medium-rare result. As you can see the meat is very bloody close to the bone, but almost well done up top.
Well.. this was an acquired taste. It always surprises me how soft and rich venison is, and how much variety in flavour there can be across the cuts and types of deer meat. But the one thing I’ve discovered about all game is that it always has a hint of kidneys! Anyone feel the same?
We served up with dauphinoise and red cabbage. The photos looks pretty gross and we butchered the saddle quite badly (there was a comedic hacking moment), but it would have tasted all the same .
Oh yes, and for starters we did chicken liver pate with red onion marmalade, just like last year.
For dessert I stewed pears in red wine and served with creme fraiche. There is a heavy red wine thread going across and accompanying all the courses…
Christmas Day | Well Hung Meat Company organic goose
This year, we discussed Christmas Day options and I was emphatic about not having a turkey. It’s. Just. So. Bland. So I did get what I wanted for Christmas, and we ordered a goose from my old friends the Well Hung Meat Company. It was £99 for a 5.5kg bird – but without giblets and fat it weighed in closer to 4.5kg.
That may seem expensive, but this goose was VFM (value for money!). This goose, or Lucy the Goosey as she affectionately came to be know, laid many golden eggs for us… not only did we extract and distill pints of goose fat for future potato roasting purposes, but the four of us hardly made a dent in one breast on the first day. By day three, we had just about managed to eat the other breast and one leg. The goose carcass itself will now go towards making a stock, and liver would have been used for pate if it hadn’t been fried up for breakfast!
Lucy was tasty, tasty, tasty. I can still taste it. Having a nice fatty skin really helped the flavour, and the meat was succulent but not dry. For those who are worried about goose being a hassle, it really isn’t. It’s probably easier to cook than a turkey – simply stuff with stuffing, season lightly, forget the glazes, and pop in the oven for the requisite amount of time. It really cooks itself, and that’s what we loved about this goose.
(This was the gross bit – putting my hand in the goose cavity to pull out chunks of fat.)
After the operation..
You’ve been sloed
On a final note, that 60-day sloe gin I was working on turned out really nicely. Too nicely. The potion was so powerful that we adopted the phrase “you’ve been sloed”, as the Christmas party slurred and stumbled their way through the night…
Two tasty ways you could serve it:
- sloesecco (sloe gin and prosecco)
- sloe gin & tonic
UPDATE: Rendered goose fat
Here it is, courtesy of lovely Amanda: