Saddle up….from ribs to riches!

Rack of VenisonHaving recently ordered a saddle of venison from Gribbles Butchers at Occombe Farm, Devon.I thought it was a fantastic opportunity to showcase a stunning cut of meat to the Ashburton Chefs Academy students, teaching them how to use every last scrap and get the most for your money and meat!

My aim was to give the students some inspiration and understanding on how versatile venison can be whether your cooking it for the family or within the catering industry for potentially paying customers.

I butchered the saddle to leave me with 2 loins, 2 fillets, 2 racks of ribs and a good pile of bones. But of course your butcher can do this for you!

VenisonThe next step was to get a stock on . Of which the bones were deeply roasted before being painted with tomato puree. The bones had a second roast to richen and cook out the puree before being placed in a stock pot and covered with cold water. A mirepoix (google it) of vegetables were added along with some thyme,bay,juniper and parsley stalks before bringing the stock to the boil and simmering for 4-6 hours!

Now onto the loins. These were trimmed, portioned and wrapped in parma ham ready to be cooked and served as part of a main course.

The fillets….these were the chefs perks, the rest is history! : )

Venison Sticky RibsSo that leaves me with the ribs and any trimmings surplus to requirements. With the ribs I marinaded them in a sticky mixture of soya sauce,oyster sauce, sweet chilli sauce,honey and tamarind. giving me a contrast of sweet, sour, salty and hot! i then braised them in the oven with a splash of water to loosen the mix on a low heat for about 3-4 hours. Giving you the richest, stickiest ribs ever!

With the meat quickly disappearing i was only left with all the scraps and trimmings. This was put through the mincing attachment for the Kenwood chef to give the most amazing, beautifully coloured mince.

I decided to take a bit of a spin on a traditional shepherds pie, cooking it down to produce the ultimate stalkers pie! i Shepherds Piehave given you the recipe which can be used to make individual pies or one big one to devour family style with loads of gravy and buttery mash!

Stalkers Pie Mix


  • 1kg Venison mince
  • 1 white onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 stick celery , chopped
  • 50g leek, chopped
  • 2 clove garlic, crushed
  • Bouquet garni, leek, thyme, juniper, bay leaf
  • 2 tins chopped tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons tomato puree
  • 200ml red wine
  • 200ml beef stock
  • Dash of Worcester sauce
  • Squeeze tomato ketchup


  1. In a smoking hot pan brown off the mince in batches until the whole lot is done. Transfer into a saucepan as you go.
  2. In the same pan add the vegetables and sweat down until soft and sweet. Add the tomato puree and continue to cook for a minute. Add the red wine and reduce along with the vegetables to syrup. This will also deglaze the pan. Add to the venison mince.
  3. Put the saucepan on the heat and add the tinned tomatoes, stock and bouquet garni. Bring up to the boil and turn down to a gentle simmer.
  4. Cook until the sauce coats the meat and is tender. Season with salt,Worcester sauce and ketchup.

So from a whole saddle of venison every single scrap was used to produce some delicious dishes of which can be enjoyed at home with friends and family or jazzed up to entertain the masses!

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