• Serves: 2
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cooking Time: 20 minutes
  • Difficulty: Medium

Cranberry sauce isn’’t just for turkey. The sharpness of these bouncy little berries, coupled with their ability to collapse into a glossy, luxuriously crimson sauce, makes them a perfect match for other meats.

Berries and game is a classic pairing, and here it takes on a festive twist. Juicy venison steaks are covered in a rich cranberry sauce, given a fresh, festive lift with orange zest, port and rosemary. It’’s an incredibly easy sauce to make, coming together in minutes, but it has all the wonderful flavours of winter and Christmas. Venison is a wonderful meat that we should all eat more of; it’s lower in fat than beef, with all of the flavour and a slightly gamey tang that makes it a perfect match for fruity sauces.

I like to serve the cranberry venison with a crunchy salad of green beans, glassy pears and earthy walnuts, bound with mellow garlic, olive oil and sturdy winter herbs. Walnuts are another festive favourite, and they pair so well with the crisp pears and beans here, making a pesto-type dressing for the salad that cuts through the richness of that cranberry sauce. The colours of this plateful are beautiful, and deliver all the satisfaction of a Christmas dinner without any of the hard work.


HERE's what you'll need...

For the salad:
Salt and pepper
3 cloves garlic, peeled
200g green beans, trimmed
10 walnut pieces, toasted
4 tbsp olive or rapeseed oil
2 tbsp flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 tbsp rosemary leaves, chopped
½ tsp coarse sea salt
1 just-ripe pear (I used Comice), cored and thinly sliced

For the venison:
2 venison steaks
1 tbsp olive or rapeseed oil
50ml port or red wine
250ml hot beef stock (from a cube is fine)
90g fresh cranberries
3 strips of orange zest, thinly shredded with a sharp knife
A sprig of rosemary
3 tsp redcurrant jelly (or other fruit jelly, damson and quince work well)

Venison ingredients edited


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here's how it's done...

  • 1

    Bring a medium pan of water to the boil and add a generous pinch of salt. Add the garlic cloves and boil for 10 minutes, then remove the cloves with a slotted spoon and place in a pestle and mortar. Add the green beans to the boiling water and boil for 3-4 minutes until just tender. Drain and set aside.

    Venison step 1

  • 2

    Crush the garlic in the pestle and mortar with half the walnuts, the parsley, rosemary and coarse salt, adding enough oil to make a paste with the consistency of pesto.

    Venison step 2

  • 3

    Toss the green beans and the pear slices with the paste. Chop the remaining walnuts and toss together with the beans. Divide between two plates.

    Venison step 3

  • 4

    For the venison, heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium-high heat. Season the venison steaks on each side, then fry on each side for around 3 minutes, depending on the thickness of the steaks and how well done you want them (venison is best served medium rare, I think). Remember they will continue to cook as they rest. Remove to a plate, cover with foil and leave to rest for 5 minutes while you make the sauce.

    Venison step 4

  • 5

    Pour the port/red wine into the pan to deglaze, scraping any bits off the bottom of the pan. Let it bubble for a few seconds, then add the stock, cranberries, orange zest, rosemary and redcurrant jelly. Let this simmer for a few minutes, stirring until it has thickened to a glossy sauce.

    Venison step 5

  • 6

    Put the venison steaks on the plates with the salad, then pour the sauce over the steaks. Serve immediately.

    Venison post image 1



By Elly McCausland on 09.12.15

Guest Contributor

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