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Why haven't more people cottoned on to venison haunch (pavé) and chump/rump steaks?

Updated: Feb 6

This weekend Mrs W and I tucked into some pan fried fallow deer pavé steaks crusted with peppercorns and again found ourselves wondering why more people don't pick them up in store (Peterley Manor Farm & Westside Fruit shop if you're interested).

venison butchery cuts and uses
Venison cuts

Cut from the prime haunch muscles (2 in the chart above), they are everything you could ask of a steak- thick, juicy, dense yet tender, full of flavour and no visible fat (and all the usual venison benefits of high zinc and protein levels).

On the market stalls I was always being asked for sirloin and yes, that's a fabulous cut- as it should be, it's the premium cut and there's only a relatively small quantity of it on a deer, but let's be honest, most beef steak eaten in the UK probably isn't sirloin. So why would we restrict ourselves to venison sirloin steaks- the most expensive of the lot? And let's not forget, eating wild venison generates 30x less carbon than beef, and gives tree regeneration a chance.

Pavé steaks are the least expensive of the venison steak options but don't underestimate them simply pan fried, or dressed up with a sauce. If that tempts you, here's a simple recipe for your next steak night.

And then there's the rump/chump steaks (my wife's favourite)- but I'll save that for another week!

Oh and don't forget how versatile venison is for accompaniments- horseradish sauce, cumberland sauce, redcurrant sauce or the mildness of dijon mustard. Personally I don't recommend english mustard with venison as it overwhelms.

Robin of #Create_Terroir kindly created some instructional videos of true cheffy steak cooking over the summer and I really need to get them turned around and published as he's a mine of information, but we're moving house in the coming weeks, so that might be a summer project.


Geoff, Xenia, Artemis-the-spaniel and Skadi-the-pup

Venison Pave Steak Au Poivre / Peppered Steak

2 tbs black or green peppercorns (Robin would say green)

4 wild venison pavé steaks

25g butter

15ml oil

30ml brandy

150ml double cream or crème fraîche

sea salt

  1. Allow steaks to come up to room temperature as this will ensure a more even cook.

  2. Warm up the oven (for resting)

  3. Crush the peppercorns coarsely using a pestle and mortar, or rolling pin.

  4. Place the steaks on the peppercorns and press hard to encrust the surface of the meat; repeat with the other side.

  5. Heat the butter and oil in a frying pan and quickly sear the steaks over a high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for a further 3-8 minutes, according to taste, turning every 2 minutes.

  6. Season with salt.

  7. Remove steaks from the pan; keep warm.

  8. Add the brandy to the pan, take off the heat and set alight. When the flames die down, stir in the cream, season and reheat gently.

  9. Pour the sauce over the steaks to serve.

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1 comentario

Robin Popham
Robin Popham
05 feb

So true, the rump/chump/haunch is far more versatile than would first appear! The flavour is exceptional as you quite rightly said. While sirloin or back strap has the elegance, as with beef, this is not a flavourful cut (unless perhaps roasted on the bone)! Given the exceptionally lean and refined nature of version when compared to beef, I would always go for chump, pave or even a leg steak.

Venison simply cannot be thought of in terms of whats familiar, ie beef.

My absolute favourite is a whole roast chump over coals, then rested and carved. Absolutely divine!

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