Venison with sprouts, squash puree and chocolate sauce

I find Tom Kerridge’s recipes a bit hit and miss. I’ve seen him pre cook mince and put mushrooms into lasagne (NO) and use gravy granules repeatedly in his new book ‘the Dopamine Diet’ (HELL NO).  As a side note, I bought that book because I thought I’d find some fantastic low carb recipes to help with eating while type 1 diabetes. So far, I’m disappointed.

More successful is his book ‘Proper pub food’, which this recipe is adapted from. We’ve made a few recipes from this book and they’ve all been tasty.  The book also doubles up as a drinking game – if you have a shot every time he uses the word ‘proper’ you’ll be hammered by page 20.

That aside, this recipe is great – classic, with a twist. Venison and chocolate is a classic combination and the recipe feels even more luxurious with a smooth squash puree. Believe it or not, there are sliced frankfurters in this, which sounds really odd but works really well.

I’ve amended the recipe quite a bit in order to simplify. I didn’t make my own chicken stock for a start, as well as cooking the sprouts and frankfurter/squash mixture together as I didn’t see the benefit in creating more work for myself and another pan to wash.

Elephant in the room: My sauce sucks. It could be the worst sauce I’ve ever made.  It split and is completely watery, but this is my poor sauce making rather than the quality of the recipe. (It still tasted good, but I was obviously not happy with it). You’d probably benefit from making the sauce in advance rather than rushing it like me!

As usual, my presentation standards are as good as I can muster, which is quite poor. But I promise this tastes great. Even though my sauce is split.

Serves 4

Venison, sprouts, squash puree and chocolate sauce
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  • 100g butter, cubed
  • 800g venison loin
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 2 frankfurters, sliced
  • 2 tbsps pumpkin seeds
  • 200g brussel sprouts
  • 1 tbsp dark 70% cocoa chocolate, grated.
  • For the squash puree
  • 1 butternut squash
  • 100g butter, cubed
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 150ml chicken stock
  • 100ml double cream
  • For the sauce
  • 500ml chicken stock
  • 200ml red wine
  • 50g frozen blackberries
  • 35g redcurrant jelly
  • quarter onion, chopped
  • 1 celery stick, chopped


  1. Make the red wine sauce first. Mix the chicken stock, red wine, redcurrant jelly and blackberries together and boil, dissolving the jelly. Add the onion and celery then reduce down to a third of original volume. Remove from the heat and add the parsley stalks. Pass through a sieve and chill to cool and solidify any fat on the surface.
  2. Meanwhile, make the squash puree. Peel and de-seed, before cutting in half lengthways. Dice the top half and put to one side, then cut the rest into 2cm cubes. Melt 50g butter over a low heat. Add the shallots and fry until softened but not coloured. Add the cubed squash and cook for 5 mins. Pour in the chicken stock and boil for 10 mins until the squash is tender.
  3. Place the contents into a blender and add the remaining butter and cream. Blend until smooth. Pass through a sieve into a clean pan and leave to one side.
  4. Melt 50g butter in a large frying pan over a high heat until the butter has started to turn brown. Fry the venison for 3-4 mins on each side until they brown. Squeeze in the lemon juice and baste the venison with the pan juices. Do not overcook. Remove from the pan and rest, wrapped in tin foil for 10 mins.
  5. Meanwhile, heat a little oil in another pan and fry the sliced frankfurters until crisp around the edges. Remove from the pan and rest on kitchen paper. Add the diced squash to the pan and cook for about 4 mins or until tender, before adding the sprouts and cooking for a further 2 minsutes. Add the pumpkin seeds the frankfurters back to then pan and season.
  6. Bring the red wine sauce back up to the boil and whisk in the dark chocolate, before removing from the heat.
  7. Gently heat the squash puree through until hot, before dividing onto 4 plates and topping with the rested, sliced venison, the sprout mixture and sauce (hopefully yours does not split!).