Andy Robertson of Gravetye Manor and his juniper infused venison recipe

PUBLISHED: 12:53 27 January 2014 | UPDATED: 13:36 27 January 2014




Andy Robertson, Senior Sous Chef at Gravetye Manor, shares his recipe for a delicious game dish

Andy RobertsonAndy Robertson

The chef - Andy Robertson, Gravetye’s kitchen

Andy Robertson is one of the shining stars in Gravetye’s kitchen. Twenty-six years old and from Glasgow, he moved down south to start as Demi Chef de Partie at Gravetye four years ago. He quickly rose through the ranks to his current position. He has always wanted to be a chef, encouraged by his father, who cooked everything using fresh ingredients. His venison main course was inspired by seasonal produce found in the Gravetye kitchen garden. Andy’s style is uncomplicated food with fresh, bold flavours using the best local ingredients. The varying textures within the accompaniments, (salsify, poached pears, pickled shallots and crispy oats), make this a signature dish.



-1 whole loin venison

-2 dozen juniper berries

-200ml vegetable oil

-200ml red wine sauce

-10 sticks salsify

-100g table salt

-1 baking potato

-100g butter

-100ml double cream

-750ml red wine

-250ml ruby port

-200g caster sugar

-2 Williams pears

-2 large onions


For the crisp oats

-50g porridge oats

-25g butter

-20g caster sugar


For the cabbage and cauliflower

-Half a red cabbage, finely sliced

-12 florets of Romanesco cauliflower (or alternative)


For the pickled shallots

-6 small Thai shallots – peeled and sliced

-50ml white wine vinegar



Take the venison loin and place in a bag with 12 of the juniper berries (crushed) and the vegetable oil. This is best done 24 hours in advance, but even as little as one hour will infuse some of the flavour from the juniper.


To make the creamed salsify

1 Place the baking potato in the oven at 160oC until fully cooked (approx. one hour). Remove and allow to cool for 15 minutes.

2 Wash eight sticks of the salsify and coat with the 100g table salt, place on a tray and roast in the oven at 160oC for approximately 20 minutes, or until the sticks are very soft.

3 Scoop the potato flesh out of the skin and the flesh from the salsify and push them both through a sieve while still warm.

4 Add 100g butter and 100ml double cream in stages and mix well. If the mix is starting to look soft, stop before adding all the cream. Some types of potato will take more cream than others.

5 Season and set aside.


To make the red wine salsify and pears

1 Put the red wine, port and sugar in a pan and reduce by half.

2 Peel the two remaining sticks of salsify, cut into 2” lengths and put into the simmering red wine.

3 Using a melon baller, scoop balls (about 24) out of the pears and add to the wine. Remove the wine from the heat when the salsify is just starting to soften. Allow to cool without removing the pears or salsify – they should remain in the wine and be reheated while still in the wine.


To make the onion puree

Peel and slice the onions. Place in a saucepan, season lightly and add a knob of butter. Cook slowly without letting the onions colour until they are very soft. Transfer to a blender and blend until completely smooth. Place in a small saucepan to reheat.


To cook the venison

Remove the venison from the marinade and place in a very hot frying pan. Sear the loin on all sides. Transfer to the oven and cook for eight minutes at 180oC (medium rare). Allow to rest for at least 10 minutes.


For the vegetables

Make sure that the red cabbage is VERY finely sliced and sweat off in butter for five minutes. It will remain slightly firm.

Blanch the Romanesco in boiling water for four minutes before dressing in melted butter and seasoning.


For the crispy oats

Cream the butter and sugar and fold in the oats. Spread thinly on greaseproof paper and toast in the oven at 160oC, turning regularly until they are crispy.


For the pickled shallots

Simply combine the shallots and vinegar and leave in the fridge for a minimum of 24 hours.



1 Put the onion puree on the plates and smearing it across the plate with the back of a spoon.

2 Put a spoonful of the red cabbage in the middle of the plate next to a spoon of the salsify puree. Place four/five slices of the venison on top and arrange the vegetables around the dish.

3 Bring the sauce to the boil with the remaining crushed juniper berries and simmer for one minute. Spoon the sauce over the meat and sprinkle with the oats and pickled shallots.


The wine - Rioja Gran Reserva, Bodega Ramon Bilbao, Spain 2005

This Rioja was awarded 91 points by Wine Spectator in 2012. Harvested from old vines in the vineyards around Haro, this wine has been aged for a total of 66 months and has spent half of that in American Oak casks. Deep ruby red with aromas of bonfires and stewed fruit, it is well-structured, with enough power to take on the rich and gamey flavour of the venison.


Reader offer

Exclusive lunch time dining offer for readers of Sussex Life at Gravetye Manor in January.

To celebrate winning the coveted Hotel of the Year England award 2013-2014, we are inviting readers of Sussex Life to enjoy three courses from our premium Á La Carte Menu for the price of £29.50 (normally £65.00). The offer is available at lunchtime only, Monday – Saturday from 1–31 January, and ‘Sussex Life Lunch Offer’ must be quoted at time of booking for the discount to apply.

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