Loin of venison with celeriac and potato mash and honeyed parsnips

A recipe from Stephen Markwick

Venison has featured regularly in Stephen’s menus over the years. He used to source his venison from the surrounding countryside, specifically the Mendips, using his regular supplier. Wild roe deer is his preference and they are available throughout the year. As they tend to be smaller they don’t need much cooking and they never dry out. Hanging for a week or two enhances the flavour considerably.
In this recipe loin is used because it is flavoursome and very easy to prepare and cook. It was often on the menu around Christmas time, with a few cranberries thrown in as a seasonal twist.

Serves 6


  • 1 saddle of roe deer (or a loin of venison if it comes from a larger deer)

for the marinade

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
  • 1 shallot, peeled and sliced

for the sauce

  • 1 tbsp sunflower or olive oil
  • 10g butter
  • 2 shallots, peeled and sliced
  • A pinch of chopped marjoram or thyme leaves
  • 2 tsp medlar, quince or redcurrant jelly
  • 120ml port
  • 120ml red wine
  • 570ml game or chicken stock
  • 50g sun-dried cranberries (optional)
  • Salt and pepper

for the celeriac and potato mash

  • 1 head of celeriac (450g – 700g)
  • An equal weight of potatoes
  • 50g butter at room temperature
  • 120ml warm milk
  • Salt, pepper and nutmeg to season

for the parsnips

  • 2-3 large parsnips
  • 2-3 tbsp duck fat or 1 tbsp oil and 20g butter
  • 2 tbsp clear honey
  • Salt and pepper

The venison component of this dish cooks really quickly so get your sauce and vegetables under way before you sear and finish it off.


  1. Ask the butcher to remove the loins from the saddle (you can use the bones and any trimmings to make a light stock as the basis of your sauce).
  2. Trim the loins well, removing the membrane and put into the prepared marinade to soak up the flavours. (As the venison is so tender it is better not to use wine or vinegar in the marinade as this would spoil the favour.)
  3. Shake the marinade ingredients off the venison loin and brown briefly on both sides then pop it in a hot oven or under the grill for a few minutes.
  4. Season with salt and rest it for 10 minutes before carving it.


  1. Heat the oil and butter in a pan, add the chopped shallots and cook over a low heat until soft.
  2. Add the marjoram or thyme and a couple of teaspoons of medlar or quince jelly (homemade is best but bought redcurrant jelly would have the same effect).
  3. Add the port and red wine and reduce by half before adding the stock.
  4. Reduce again to a light coating consistency, one that just coats the back of a wooden spoon.
  5. Add sun-dried cranberries to the sauce to give it a festive look and taste; the sweetness works well with the venison

Celeriac and potato mash

  1. Peel and cut the celeriac and potatoes into similar-sized pieces (if not using straight away, drop the celeriac into water with a dash of lemon juice to stop it discolouring.)
  2. Cook the celeriac and potato pieces in salted water until both are tender.
  3. Drain in a colander, cover and leave in the top of the stove to dry out before passing through a mouli.
  4. Beat in the butter and warm milk to give a smooth purée.
  5. Season well with salt, pepper and nutmeg

 Celeriac and potato mash

  1. Peel the parsnips, cut away the hard woody core and cut into bite-sized pieces.
  2. Blanch in boiling water very briefly, then fry in the duck fat or oil/butter combination to colour well – they won’t take long to cook.
  3. Add the honey towards the end of the cooking time and toss well together to caramelise.

To serve

Make sure all components are hot, Carve the venison fairly thinly, arrange of the plate with the vegetables and spoon the sauce over the meat.