Until recently wild venison and other game meats have never really been the prime choice for the plate with other meats like chicken, beef and pork taking centre stage. Now as we are all becoming more conscious of our health, what we eat and where it comes from venison is getting the attention it deserves as a healthy meat choice.
Why is venison so healthy?
Venison is not only leaner then beef, pork or lamb(almost half that of beef).It is rich in iron and packed full of B vitamins: B2 (riboflavin) and B3 (niacin), which help regulate metabolism; and vitamin B6 and B12, which may lower homocysteine build-up in the blood, thus lowering the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
Wild vs farmed
Is there really any competition? Although both wild and farmed grass-fed deer both share similar health benefits when it comes to choosing what food to put on my plate, I really have to think about the life that animal has had prior to being my dinner. Wild venison benefits from a varied and healthy diet of plants, berries, acorns and nuts (when available) and is able to roam free and live a healthy life eating what it chooses (sometimes to the detriment of farmers crops and young trees!)
Good life, quick death
When if comes to talking about the life of the food you eat (even though we may not want to) you really have to talk about the death too. Wild deer that is hunted or stalked by man alone is in my opinion one of the most ethical meats to eat. Stalking wild deer involves a need for reverence for the animal and an understanding it in its natural environment, it needs to be done with great care to cause the least stress to the animal in question. When stalking, if you make the deer aware of you its gone and when you do get a chance after hours of stalking one animal you only ever take a sure shot causing little or no stress to the animal. Above all I think if your going to eat meat, eat meat that has lived a natural life healthy life (and quick death).
Cooking with venison
In the past venison has been traditionally linked with certain dishes for its robust flavour (such as stews, chillis, and casseroles). Venison possibly has the reputation of being hard to cook as it can become tough very easily but if treated with respect it is one of the most beautiful meats you can eat.
Roasts, steaks and kababs are all great ways to cook venison. As it is extremely low in fat sometimes extra fat is needed to keep it nice and tender, for example with venison steak I use a small knob of butter or olive oil while the steak is searing griddle. With a roast, bacon or pork belly fat can aid your roasting haunch not to dry out while cooking. There are so many great ways to use venison over the next couple of weeks i'd like to add a few dishes of my own that can show how versatile this wonderful meat cand be, stay tuned!!!