Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Lincolnshire Life Magazine - part 2 - Venison Lasagne

this will be the second of my articles for Lincolnshire Life Magazine to run alongside a piece about the Lincolnshire Wild Venison Group... oh and I cooked this in my neighbours kitchen, so thank-you Tracey...

Go for the Roe

Like many of you i'm sure, my foray into cooking with game of any sort has been patchy... often dreamt of but never actually achieved.  I will mull over it as a choice in a restaurant, particularly during gaming season, which will soon be upon us, although even when i'm in such establishments that offer tantalising treats such as Game Pie or Breast of Pheasant, I never seem to bite the bullet... please excuse this dreadful pun... I don't know what it is, I simply never went for it, instead turning to familiar, safer favourites.  I suppose it simply comes down to a familiarity with what I know how to cook, when in fact, as I have learnt recently when I met Simon Williams from the Lincolnshire Wild Venison Group  there is very little to worry about, the meat is actually available all year as there is no 'season' for venison and if you treat the product with respect you will end up with a very satisfying, easy-to-make and surprisingly inexpensive dish.

Venison Lasagne

I've gone for something classic and 'everyday' here, as I'm keen that this is the kind of dish we could all cook at home... i've also gone for a cheaper cut of venison, the shoulder, which has a little more fat on it... if you're still unsure (which you really shouldn't be) or can't get hold of any, you can substitute the venison for beef.

for the bolognese sauce
a glug of olive oil
a nob of butter
1 medium onion - finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic - finely crushed
2 sticks celery - finely chopped
2 medium carrots - finely chopped
pancetta or bacon cut into cubes
12oz / 350g minced venison shoulder
8fl oz full-fat milk
a glass of dry white wine
500g tin of plum tomatoes - chopped, with the juice
a sprig of rosemary
salt and pepper
4fl oz of vegetable stock

for the white sauce
1 1/4 pints milk
3oz butter
2 1/2oz plain flour

for the lasagne
strips of fresh lasagne pasta
freshly grated parmesan
mozzarella cheese (fresh, not pre-grated)

First make the bolognese sauce, which needs a long cooking time but it really does make for the most tender and succulent sauce, plus you don't have to cook it all in one session, you could do the first stage in the morning and the final cooking later the same day.  It can also be cooked ahead of time and kept in the fridge for 3 days or frozen.

- in a large, heavy bottomed pan melt the butter and oil, add the onions and gently saute until they become translucent .  Add the garlic, celery and carrots, stir well and cook for a further 2 minutes.

- add the pancetta or bacon cubes and saute gently for a further two minutes.

- add the venison, a large pinch of salt, some pepper and cook until it has lost its raw red colour

- add the milk and let it simmer gently, stirring frequently, until it has bubbled away completely.

- add the wine, let it simmer until evaporated then add the tomatoes and stir thoroughly to coat all the ingredients well.

- when the tomatoes begin to bubble turn the heat down to it's very lowest setting and cook, uncovered for 3 hours, stirring from time to time and topping up occasionally with vegetable stock to keep it from completely drying out.

Next, make the white sauce;

- warm the milk through gently in a saucepan

- in a another large pan melt the butter gently on a very low heat and once melted add all the flour, stirring it in with a wooden spoon.  Cook, whilst constantly stirring for 2 minutes.

- take the pan off the heat and add the milk in small measured batches, letting the flour mixture soak up the milk whilst you stir.  Do this gently and stir continuously and you'll not have to worry about lumps.

- place the pan back on a low heat and stir without interruption until the sauce thickens.  You're looking for a thick cream consistency.  Don't worry if lumps form, you can simply whisk them away.

Now, let's build our lasagne;

you'll need a large oven-proof dish as deep or shallow as you like, depending on how many layers you're after.  Pre-heat the oven to 200C.

- smear the bottom of the dish with butter and then place a layer of the pasta sheets on the bottom.

- ladle over a thin layer of each of the sauces, sprinkle with paremsan and then add another layer of pasta

- continue to layer this way until you have used all your sauce, the top layer should be the bolognese with a generous sprinkling of paremsan and some torn mozzarella

- bake in the oven until golden and bubbly, this should take no more than 10 minutes

and should you still be un-sure about cooking with game, can I recommend the excellent who are dedicated to promoting the delights of wild British game meat.

eat and of course, enjoy!


  1. It is cool up here in Scotland and I am serving up wintery dishes...this fits the bill...and i just read a review on a local butcher who specialises in game...must be fate! :)

  2. Venison is my absolute favourite meat (can a person have a favourite meat??). Thank you for this great recipe Dom, a lovely piece for Lincolnshire Life.

  3. This looks absolutely perfect - and would hit the sport right now (the weather over here is decidedly autumnal - where did summer go?). I've bookmarked it because I love venison and the hubby adores it, so I imagine this will become a regular in our household.

  4. Oops! Would hit the 'spot'. Sorry!

  5. Check you going all fancy schmancy! Very impressive Dom, well done.

  6. This looks soo good... even for me who's trying to go veg.. haha.


  7. MMmm! I just love Venison, though I always keep it for High Days and Holidays, Lasagne sounds like a real treat. Thanks Dom, for a great idea.

  8. Just reading the title makes me hungry. Dom, this looks absolutely wonderful! I just had dinner and I think I can still manage a portion of this lasagne. I need help.

  9. That certainly looks good. I have only cooked game once or twice, but have no compunction about ordering it in a restaurant! Must look out for some and have another go.

  10. This lasagna looks amazing. I bet it was hard to stop after one serving. My grocery store does not sell game of any sort. You really need to know someone who is a hunter. My husband is a policeman and quite often has to put deer out of their misery when they are struck by a car. I don't imagine he would throw a deer on top of his cruiser for me.LOL Great article Dom.

  11. Congratulations once again Dom!

  12. Awesome looking lasagna Dom! I love the middle photo, it's so deadly velvety. And I do love venison lasagna to the deep root of my intestine. Yum!

  13. Not easy to find venison in Washington, DC. However, bison is a different story. Why not?

  14. thanks all... it was (and still is) delicious!

    @Kate - yes, you can have a favourite anything!

    @Ruth - I know... crap summer, hoping for better in September

    @FBMKW - I bet you can buy it on -line!... or just wait till one is crossing the road and hit the gas peddle!

    @StephenC - Bison lasagne... now you're talking!

  15. lovely dish and I have seen this magazine its great way to go Lincolnshire thanks for the sweet words on the baby hugs Rebecca

  16. I have never had venison but the lasagna looks incredibly homey and comforting. Yum.

  17. ... a perfect use of ground venision! Now, if Silent Bob would just tag one come hunting season! We always have some as there are so many hunters in the family, but it's always great to get your own and have pick of the tenderloins, mince, roasts, and steaks!

    Another good article, Dom!

  18. oh man...that looks so "stranded on a desert island food" !!!!! love it!

    happy to stop by today, my friend

    kary and teddy

  19. Lovely. I love the flavor of venison - it reminds me of goat. I have never tried it in an Italian dish; brilliant idea.

  20. Lasagne is a favourite of mine, but made with venison? Sublime! Great recipe and photos.

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