Blair Castle was the perfect place to explore the Scottish Highlands with the great chef Tom Kitchin. He really is a master of game cookery at his numerous restaurants in and around Edinburgh. He’s also into his foraging so while he wandered off collecting from the woodland, I cooked this dish in the castle’s stunning walled garden with former head keeper Sandy Reid. There is little he doesn’t know about the place as he’s been here since he was 15 as a pony boy. We talked about everything from food to the golden eagles and otters that live on this amazing estate.
- 3 x 200g venison steaks
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tbsp rapeseed oil
- 25g butter
- 1/2 small red cabbage, cut into 4 wedges
- 2 shallots, halved
- 2 large cooked beetroot, quartered
- 50g rainbow chard
- A small bunch of wild garlic
- For the sauce
- 50ml red wine
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 100ml veal jus
- 1 tbsp redcurrant jelly
- 3 juniper berries
- 2 star anise
- 10g butter
- To serve
- 50g blackberries
- A few wild garlic flowers
- Small handful of fennel fronds
Heat a large, non-stick frying pan over a medium heat until hot.
Put the venison steaks on a board and season all over. Drizzle the oil into the pan and fry the venison on all sides – it will take around 2–3 minutes to cook it all over. Add the butter and, once it’s melted, tip the pan to one side and spoon it over the venison. Cook for a further 4 minutes. Transfer the steaks to a warm plate, cover and leave to rest. Set the pan with the juices to one side.
Heat a large, flat griddle pan over a medium heat until hot, then pop the cabbage, shallots and beetroot on top and cook for 2–3 minutes on each side until tender and charred.
To make the sauce, pour the wine, vinegar and veal jus into the frying pan you cooked the venison in and bring to a simmer, scraping the bottom of the pan to deglaze it and stir in all the juices. Bring to the boil and add the redcurrant jelly, juniper berries and star anise, then reduce the heat and simmer for 3 minutes.
Put the chard and wild garlic onto the griddle and cook for a couple of minutes until wilted. Remove the juniper berries and star anise from the sauce and discard, then add the butter and season.
To serve, pile the vegetables onto a platter, separating the shallots into layers. Slice the meat and arrange on top, adding any rested juices to the sauce. Warm the sauce through, then spoon over the meat and vegetables. Finally, scatter over the blackberries, wild garlic flowers and a few fennel fronds.
James Martin’s Great British Adventure, Quadrille, £25.