Recipes and photos by Mel Wallis
We welcomed Mel to our team at The Butcher’s Block and Smokehouse towards the end of 2021.
An avid traveller, Mel took her passion for food seriously, becoming a qualified and highly experienced chef. She loves sharing ideas on how to cook various meats with customers in our Wanaka retail store.
Mel has created a series of easy-to-follow recipes featuring various prime meats and products we offer in-store and online.
To kick things off we’ve started with wild venison leg steaks from our good friends at Alpine Deer New Zealand.
Venison leg is a cut that some home cooks may not be game enough to try, but with Mel’s helpful tips, you’re sure to enjoy the full flavour and tenderness possible with a perfectly cooked piece of venison leg.
Venison leg is fast cooking, flavourful, iron rich and very versatile. With that in mind we’re excited to present you with venison two ways; one a bit more upmarket and one casual, but using seasonal produce and items from our excellent condiment selection in the shop.
Venison leg steaks two ways
Pan Seared Venison / Roasted Root Vege / Charred Broccolini / Red Wine Onion Gravy
Pan Seared Venison / Pumpkin Purée / Charred Broccolini / Confit Cherry Tomatoes / Toasted Pecan / Pinot Noir Jus
To cook the venison
– Bring a skillet, griddle pan or BBQ to a high heat
– Drizzle the venison lightly with olive oil
– Cook approx. 2.5 minutes on each side, based on a 180-200g steak, to achieve a beautiful medium rare
– Remove from the heat to rest on a warm plate loosely covered with foil while you prepare your pan jus or gravy and finish your vegetables.
To make confit cherry tomatoes, roast the seasoned tomatoes in a small pan and a generous quantity of olive oil for about 30 minutes at 150 degrees or until softened.
While the oven is at the lower temp, pop in the pecans (or other nuts). A good rule of thumb for toasting any nut is 10 minutes at 150 degrees.
For either recipe, I recommend seasoning and bringing the steak to room temp while you prep your vege. Any selection of seasonal root vegetables will work, and these can be seasoned with a splash of oil and our Rum & Que Umami rubs. I used garlic butter seasoning.
Peel, chop and roast your chosen root vegetables or pumpkin at 180 degrees for 35 minutes or until tender.
For pumpkin purée, mash your roast pumpkin with butter, cream and season to your taste.
Parboil broccolini for 2 minutes, season and finish in the oven, on the BBQ or even an air fryer if you like a nice char.
For the pan jus or gravy, use your favourite homemade or store-bought gravy, and add approx. 1 tablespoon of Pinot Noir Quince Jelly made locally by Taste of The Alps in Mt Barker using grapes from Aitkens Folly Vineyard. The sweetness of the jelly perfectly complements the game flavours of the venison.
Plate up your vegetables and nuts. Slice the venison to your preferred thickness and dress with your pan jus or gravy. Enjoy!
Feel free to ask Mel or Adam in-store for more tips on how to cook wild venison.
Mel joined The Butcher’s Block and Smokehouse team in 2021, bringing a great passion for quality food. She’s a qualified chef with a lifelong interest in cooking and travelling.