Venison dart in and out of meadows and wooded across the UK. Constant grazers, they trim and fertilise natural grasses, while pounding carbon and water back into the soil. Their meat has the highest protein content of any other ruminant, in addition to being high in iron, zinc (with levels second only to oysters) and B-vitamins. Venison—when minced and mixed with grated fennel, parsnip, onion and garlic and seasoned with parsley, thyme, salt, olive oil and vinegar—turns into rich, juicy, meatballs. Each bite has a harmony of forest flavours along with light sweetness. Fennel is a lead contributor to this taste profile and also a source of often overlooked nutrients, including flavonoids such as anethole, quercetin and apigenin and trace minerals such as manganese.
Lovage, locally-known as alexanders, hide in seaside hedgerows and on clifftops. Their yellow-green flowers provide pollen to bees while supporting numerous other insect species. Lovage leaves have a tangy taste somewhere in between parsley and celery and offer both vitamin C and fibre. The lovage not only brings freshness and brightness the plate, but also supports the digestion and absorption of nutrients of the meal overall.
While venison and lovage are abundant in the UK, this recipe lends itself to any combination of high-quality meat and greens, such as lamb or beef with mixed salad leaves.
Time: Under an hour with 20 minutes to prep and 20-30 minutes to bake
The leftovers freeze well!