Venison en Croûte

venison en croûte

5th April, 2012

My friend Oli was over from Barcelona for a week and arrived with half a foie gras. While here, he went up to Yorkshire to visit his mum –

saddle of venison

on returning, he had a saddle of venison

hutton’s award winning black pudding

and some award winning black pudding from Huttons of Knaresborough (there’s a fantastic picture of their shop window at Christmas here). It seemed like a perfect excuse to cook a big dinner for friends…

raw bones

I bought some marrow bones from the butcher to roast as per the only recipe I can find…

roasted bone marrow

You place the bones onto an oiled oven tray, sprinkled with a little salt (Malden is a good choice) and then roast in a hot, preheated oven for 20 – 30 minutes. Be careful not to let the bones burn.

fresh bread

The bone marrow should be scooped out while still hot, and eaten on toast – Rick baked the bread specially.


As per Fergus Henderson’s recommendation, I made up a little side salad – I deviated by using 2 pieces of finely chopped garlic and coriander instead of parsley, with a couple of chopped shallots, 2 teaspoons of capers, a squeeze of lemon and some extra virgin olive oil, seasoned to taste. This salad goes very well with the bone marrow – the flavours are complimentary. The marrow seemed to disappear very quickly – I’d been hoping to eat a few extra!

puff pastry

I think Oli suggested venison en croûte  (I’d had it before, a couple of years ago in Blacks), so I looked up a few recipes – one by Jane Grigson stood out, as did this other one with haggis! I also found a very good rough puff pastry recipe by Valentine Warner, which I followed to the letter (pictured above). Where it calls for a tablespoonful of lemon juice, I used my remaining half lemon grown by Chica Andaluza for something extra special – they are amazing lemons! I made the pastry the day before, so that it had a night in the fridge to rest…

browning the venison

For the venison en croûte, we threw away the recipe book and made it up as we went along. I browned and seasoned the venison in a little olive oil quickly on top of the stove and let it rest.

black pudding on pastry

Meanwhile, I rolled out the puff pastry – I had intended cutting it into two rectangles, but it seemed such a good size for a single pastry enclosure, that I left it as it was.

saddle of venison and foie gras

It was decided that the venison should be unrolled and stuffed with the foie gras and a few juniper berries,

ready to wrap

then re rolled and placed on a bed of black pudding inside the pastry.

sealing the venison in pastry

I sealed the venison, foie gras and black pudding in pastry with some beaten egg – a bit like making a very large pasty.

ready to bake

I coated the pastry with the remaining beaten egg to help it go golden brown in the oven. The venison en croûte was cooked in a hot oven for 45 minutes  and then rested for 20 minutes (this produces rare, bloody venison, so cook it for 10 to 15 minutes longer if you like medium rare). Do remember that venison should not be overcooked or it will go tough.

peeling parsnips

While the venison cooked, parsnips were peeled

parsnip chips

and chipped.

sliced celeriac

Celeriac was peeled chopped, boiled and mashed.

griddled aubergines

Aubergines were sliced, salted and griddled.

preiselbären jam

Rabina brought Preiselbären jam – normally served in Germany with roast venison. It traditionally contains Lingonberries but this one was a little different. It was made with: cranberries, dried mango, brown sugar and red chilli flakes cooked in orange, mango and passion fruit juice – when the cranberries popped, a little touch of salt and lemon rind were added.

sliced venison en croûte

The venison was sliced and I whisked the juices off to the pan I’d browned the joint in,

venison blood

along with the reserved venison blood, some red wine and balsamic vinegar, to make a quick jus. The venison was delicious, very tender and the flavours of foie gras and black pudding went very well together. The pastry was a delight and I urge everyone to make their own and give up frozen shop bought rubbish – it’s not hard to make.

santiago fresh from the oven

Su had been very busy during the afternoon – she whipped up a Tarta de Santiago, which came without almonds, since the nuts in the cupboard turned out to be hazelnuts!

tarta de santiago

The Santiago was decorated traditionally with the cross of St. James in icing sugar. It’s believed that the tarta may have its origins in Jewish passover cake, via Spanish Jews who converted to Christianity in Galicia. How fitting to be eating it in Golders Green! The Santiago was sliced and served with a little Pedro Ximenez, sweet sherry, poured on top.


Finally, a balloon went up to celebrate the end of a lovely evening.

Other Venison posts

About Mad Dog
This entry was posted in Drink, Eating Out, Food, Game, Meat, Recipes, Shopping, Spanish and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

26 Responses to Venison en Croûte

  1. ChgoJohn says:

    What a feast, MD! This is hardly the TV dinner I know. The meal just got better and better as you revealed each dish. And how does one end so lavish a feast? Why, with a balloon. of course. Well done!

  2. What a wonderful coming together of ingredients to create a delicious feast! I don’t see venison here, but this brings back memories.

  3. Brilliant menu, but no surprise there. Coriander with roasted marrow bones – I think Fergus might think that you’re getting a little bit too fanciful!

  4. Oh my – what will you do to top this?! It sounds like an amazing meal and such a fun evening. I´ll have to bring one of those lantern things if we ever do manage to arrange anything as the only thing I might have a chance of topping is the balloon. Mind you, if it was a hot air balloon… Glad you enjoyed the lemons! Di you make the puff pastry then? If so, am seriously impressed.

  5. Everything looks delicious MD. Your friends are very talented too 🙂

  6. zestybeandog says:

    This is mind blowing! Wow what a feast! So far from a TV Dinner I must say! WOW 🙂

  7. ceciliag says:

    Wow.. you have the BEST friends and what a fantastic spread, even the salad. this was a major page! now i am off to look at your pork belly oh i cannot wait for pork! c

  8. This dinner is fabulous! I have never been invited to someone’s house for a dinner like this. I will not likely be able to make any of these amazing things anytime soon, but I may launch a balloon the day after I take the bar!

  9. peasepudding says:

    Yum, I would love to come for dinner for this one.

  10. Pingback: Venison Steak | Mad Dog TV Dinners

  11. Pingback: Venison Chilli | Mad Dog TV Dinners

  12. Pingback: Game and Venison Pie | Mad Dog TV Dinners

  13. Pingback: Venison Pie | Mad Dog TV Dinners

  14. Pingback: Saddle of Venison | Mad Dog TV Dinners

  15. Pingback: Bambi’s Winter Wonderland | Mad Dog TV Dinners

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.