Saturday, November 16, 2013

The Merits of Venison

I've started feeling very guilty about eating meat in the last couple of years; it's delicious but it's also totally unsustainable for us to go on eating the amount we do for environmental reasons. In addition there are huge ethical problems with the way a large proportion of the meat sold and eaten in this country is produced. I'm no animal rights protester but some of the stuff that goes on in the farming industry is just plain nasty. Luckily, on a personal level it's very easy to cut down the amount of meat we eat drastically, and, given this will save money it means we can afford to spend more money on the meat we do buy. If you're looking to save money, meat isn't always more expensive if it's organic/ locally and more ethically produced, especially because supermarkets often don't stock cheaper cuts of meat.

Eating game, which is in season at the moment and will be for a few more months, is a great way to indulge in some delicious meatiness without the same environmental and ethical concerns. Because game tends to be wild (obviously check exactly where your game is coming from) energy isn't going into feeding animals that could be spent growing crops for humans to eat. There are no bad living conditions, no nasty abattoirs, animals are just shot.bang.dead that's it easy peasy not so much of a guilty conscience. Venison is particularly great because as far as I know deer have to be culled every year so the population doesn't get out of hand and cause farmers huge problems. If you're gonna kill something you may as well eat it right. A bit like road-kill but without being as weird.

I think it's a real shame that game is so associated with the middle if not upper classes. Pheasant is often cheaper than chicken and certainly more flavoursome, and most of it's pretty easy to cook. As for people not liking the gamey taste, just don't wait to long before eating it and it should be too high and scary.

Last weekend I bought a pretty big wild venison steak for myself from the North Parade farmer's market. It cost EUR2.39. I heated a frying pan (don't have a griddle at un-ay) until it was screaming hot and then seared it, each side for maybe a minute and a half. I like my meat rare and I find venison particularly lends itself to rare-verging-on-bleu-ness. I seasoned, squeezed some lemon on and let it to rest for five minutes. I served it with sweet potato mash and young broccoli. The whole meal cost less than three quid but felt like a real luxury YUM STEAK. Plus venison is much healthier than beef, and you know smugness tastes great. Why eat quorn when you could eat venison? Come on veggies, I know you want to

accidentally ate half of it before i got my camera out
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