Growing up in Australia you would think I would have been used to eating some wild outback animals, but in truth, the beef and lamb is so good, why would I want to eat anything else (and really, as much as there was the odd wallaby in our backyard, they weren't exactly plate-ready!!). I moved to the UK having never eaten any game meat at all and it took me a really long time to venture into the game park!
Our local butcher (The Hampstead Butcher & Providore) has just started making venison sausages and they are delicious! I hesitantly tried one (while still having regular ones too, just in case) but was pleasantly surprised at the flavour and texture of the venison. I was expecting it to be quite tough and for some reason, to taste like blood! But, it was tender and if I didn't know any better, I would have said it was the best British beef that isn't beef. Having a chat to the butcher I found out that they get all their venison from Marks Hall Estate in Essex, and that the hunting season is coming to a close. It makes complete sense but was a surprise to me to learn that as with most wild animals, there are restrictions placed on what time of the year they can be hunted, so as to manage their population and breeding cycles. So venison is from November to March.
I had gone back and bought a kilo of venison sausages after enjoying them so much, but had the idea of turning the sausages into burger patties and so set about taking the meat out of the casing.
Because they were butcher-made sausages, the casing was very easy to take off and the meat was easy to extract. I used 8 thin sausages to yield enough meat to make three generous-portioned patties.
I treated the venison as I would if I were making beef patties and so added fresh basil, breadcrumbs, worchestershire sauce, onion (I used red this time but usually would use brown) and tomato ketchup.I didn't feel that I needed to add the egg because the meat was so juicy and was binding together fine without it.
I formed the meat into patties and cooked for about 10 minutes on a fairly hot pan (in an ideal world we would step outside to our barbeque, but alas, on the hob it is) until they are cooked through and dark brown on top. We had halloumi, onion, tomato and spinach leaves with our burgers and I have to say, it was the most delicious burger I think I have ever made.
Having learned that venison has approximately 1/3 of the fat of regular beef makes it all the more sweeter to cook more with this adorable and tasty animal (sigh). Get in quickly though, March is looming!