Starter

On the Hunt

Seek and you shall find a rich array of nutrients in the wild biodiversity all around us

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.

method

Time: Under an hour with 20 minutes to prep and 20-30 minutes to bake

  1. Pre-heat oven to 200°C/375°F and line baking sheet with parchment paper
  2. Grate the fennel bulb, parsnip and onion ideally with a food processor to dramatically reduce the time and mix in a large bowl
  3. Add the mince/ground meat along with pressed garlic, chopped parsley, additional dried herbs and salt and thoroughly mix together
  4. Roll mixture into meatballs and space evenly on the baking sheet
  5. Bake for 20-30 minutes until golden, ideally turning over halfway through
  6. Place the lovage or desired greens onto one side of a plate and dot with olives
  7. Once the meatballs are finished, add them hot from the oven to the plate
  8. Drizzle with olive oil and vinegar

The leftovers freeze well!

Ingredients

  • 500g/1lb wild minced/ground venison or naturally-raised lamb, turkey, chicken, etc.
  • 1 fennel bulb
  • 1 medium-sized parsnip (optional)
  • ½ medium-sized onion bulbs
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • Large handful of parsley
  • Dried thyme (can use other herbs or omit)
  • Salt to taste
  • Lovage or greens of your choice
  • Olives (optional)
  • Olive oil and vinegar
find out the inspiration behind this recipe by clicking the link below.
grasslands
oceans
jungle

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