Although most game is a concern of the Autumn and Winter months, there are certain wild meats that can be enjoyed all year round. Wood Pigeon is great at this time of year, as is my old buddy-pal Thumper. A freshly killed Rabbit flashed above the hot coals of a barbecue is a rare treat. The venison season for certain species of deer can start as early as July (Red deer stags) and finish at the beginning of May (Fallow bucks), so the season isn't quite as brief as one might expect. Truly wild Venison can be trickier to find in the summer months, although farmed is readily available all year round. This recipe works equally well with beef. Serves 4.
4 Venison steaks
150g Quick cook polenta
1 Litre Chicken stock, plus an extra 150ml for the red wine sauce
100g Mature Cheddar cheese, grated
2 Garlic cloves, finely grated
A handful of flatleaf parsley leaves
A splash of red wine
3 Juniper berries
1 Cook the polenta according to the pack instructions, then stir in the Cheddar, garlic, parsley and season to taste.
2 Heat a splash of olive oil in a non-stick pan (you can cook the meat on the BBQ if the sun's out). Season the venison steaks, then sear for 5 minutes on each side. Transfer the meat onto a plate to rest.
3 De-glaze the pan with a generous slosh of red wine, then add the remaining 150ml of stock and the juniper berries. Keep the sauce on a quick bubble, until it has reduced and has thickened nicely.
4 To plate up, slice the venison steaks and arrange on top of a plate of polenta. Spoon over the red wine sauce and serve with a few sprigs of fresh parsley.