Venison Steak and Veggie Bowl with Orange Cranberry Sauce

A warming, festive bowl of venison, veggies and a home-made cranberry sauce to see you through the winter  months. Easy to make and on the table in under 30 minutes. 

I received the venison, plus a contribution towards the cost of the ingredients for this recipe, from Farmers Choice. Thank you to them for supporting the blog. 

One of my earliest Christmas memories coming up. 

I was about six or seven I suppose, and my Mum had pulled the dining room table away from the wall and extended it, its big, flappy ends propped up. The table had a big tablecloth draped over, and it glistened with cutlery, foil Christmas crackers and the twinkle of crystal-cut wine glasses as the afternoon winter sun shone through the window. It was so magical. Christmas was magical. I'd thought the night before about Father Christmas riding in his sleigh over our house and Rudolph leading the way with his bright red nose. Rudolph was my favourite reindeer. I'd also really hoped he didn't forget me. Because he had a lot of children to get to that night.

Anyway, we sat down to dinner - this year we had my grandparents over too. My Mum brought out the turkey and placed the dish of cranberry sauce on the table. My eyes shone with the excitement of having my grandparents here, and thinking of what we were going to eat for dinner. My Dad reached over, picked out a whole cranberry out of the sauce, placed it on his plate and, with a mischievous look, lifted it up for everyone to see. "Rudolph's nose," he said. And I burst into tears. 

Venison Steak and Veggie Bowl with Orange Cranberry Sauce - Paleo AIP

A bit touchy, yes, but I was only half-way through Primary school, and I didn't know it wasn't really Rudolph's nose. I was a gullible child, what can I say? So, when I found myself in my kitchen with a venison steak, there was only one thing I could imagine with it. Rudolph's noses. Er, I mean cranberries. 

Venison Steak and Veggie Bowl with Orange Cranberry Sauce - Paleo AIP

The venison (from Farmer's Choice) was so succulent and tasty. It's fairly lean too, so you have to keep an eye on it while it cooks, so it doesn't dry out. It's important, too, to get a nice sear on the outside of the steak, which gives it flavour, plus it will flavour the sauce that gets poured over the top. One thing to mention about this venison steak is that, because it comes from Farmer's Choice, it's completely free range. Love that. 

And if you're worried about bothering to make home made cranberry sauce, don't fret. It whips up in about 5 minutes and tastes so much better than anything you'll buy in a jar. The flavours of venison (sorry reindeer lovers), cranberries, thyme and orange give the whole thing a really festive touch. 

Venison Steak and Veggie Bowl with Orange Cranberry Sauce
Serves 2
2 Venison Steaks, from Farmers Choice, defrosted if frozen
1 tsp olive oil
2 tsp butter (for AIP just use a little more olive oil)
pinch of sea salt
2-3 sprigs of fresh thyme
juice of 2 oranges
100g cranberries (I used frozen)
1 tbsp runny honey
mashed pumpkin, squash or sweet potato and sautéed greens (I used buttonhole kale) to serve

Heat the olive oil and butter in a medium-sized frying pan until the butter has melted and started to bubble. Season the steaks on each side with a pinch of sea salt and gently lay into the melted butter and hot oil. Leave well alone, on a medium heat, allowing the surface of the steak to brown, for about 4 minutes. Using tongs, turn over the steak and cook on the other side, again for 3-4 minutes. Once the steaks are cooked, lift out onto a warm plate to rest. 

While the steaks are resting, make the cranberry sauce. Place the thyme sprigs, the juice of one of the oranges, cranberries and the honey in a small saucepan and put on a low to medium heat. Gently increase the heat, and add a pinch of salt. Allow the sauce to come to a low simmer. Stir occasionally. When the sauce has turned ruby red and jammy, turn off the heat. 

To make the sauce, take the pan you browned the steak in and put back on the heat. Tip in any of the resting juices from the steaks on the plate, along with the juice from the other orange. Add the thyme sprigs. Allow to come to a bubble - add a little splash of water if you think it needs it, along with a small pinch of salt for seasoning. Stir with a wooden or silicone spoon, incorporating the caramelised juices from the pan after frying the steaks. This will add real flavour to the sauce. 

Slice up the steaks and serve with mashed sweet potato, pumpkin or squash and some sliced, sautéed greens - I used buttonhole kale because I love the colours. Spoon over the sauce from the pan, and add some of the fresh cranberry sauce on the side. A beautiful, comforting winter dish. 

What are your favourite ways to cook venison? Tell me about it in the comments below!