Allyson Gofton - Venison for vitality and variety

Publish Date
Tuesday, 16 December 2014, 9:46AM
By Allyson Gofton

Farm-raised New Zealand Venison
Tender, farmed-raised New Zealand venison is available all year round, and being so succulent and with it’s own sweet taste, it marries delightfully well with just about every seasoning blend you would like to try. From Italian, Asian, Mexican, classic British and French inspired seasonings to good old kiwi favourites, venison loves them all.

Some venison, though not all  is sold with the Cervena® trademark logo.

The name combines the Latin word for deer cervidae, with venison. It is a trademarked name and only New Zealand farmed venison can use it; it is a term primarily used for the export industry though some local brands do use the name and logo too.

All New Zealand farm-raised venison:

  • Has a subtle flavour (not gamey)
  • Is guaranteed tender
  • Is free-range farmed without hormones or growth promotants

Look for:
Silver Fern Farms: CervenaTM medallions, mince, stir-fry and diced venison.
Woodburn Venison: burger patties, meatballs, and occasionally medallions, and diced venison.

Cooking Tips:

  • Buy medallions or steaks of even thickness to ensure even cooking.
  • If not marinating, season the meat with a little oil, salt and pepper before cooking.
  • Cook preferably from room temperature or have the meat removed from the fridge 30 minutes before cooking.
  • Best served rare or medium-rare.
  • Rest before serving to ensure tenderness.

Medallions v. steaks
Farm-raised venison medallions are small steaks, normally cut from tender leg muscles.  At 50 to 60 grams per medallion, 2 or 3 are a good serving per person. They can also be cooked, rested  then sliced and tossed through a salad as a smaller meat serving.
Steaks are larger, about 100 grams and  are normally be cut from the loin.

Healthy too!
One serving of farm-raised venison has less than 1 gram of saturated fat!

Note: Where venison is not available try beef fillet or well-trimmed scotch fillet steak.

Cervena with Olive and Caper Crumble
Venison is a superb meat. It has a fine texture, is lean and has wonderful flavour. This simple recipe is prepared using venison (or beef if you don't have venison) topped on thick slices of char-grilled bread.

Serves: Makes about 24 pieces

2 cloves garlic, peeled and well-mashed
3-4 tablespoons virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons cracked black pepper
500 gram piece cervena tenderloin
French bread stick or ciabatta loaf
Basil leaves (optional)
Olive and caper crumble:
2 tablespoons capers
½ cup black or green olives, pitted
4 sundried red peppers or tomatoes, finely sliced
4 tablespoons each chopped parsley and marjoram


  1. Mix together the garlic, olive oil and pepper and rub well into the venison. If time allows, set aside to marinate for about 4 hours in a covered container in the fridge.

  2. Chop the ingredients for the crumble roughly and set aside.

  3. Pan-fry or BBQ the cervena over a high heat for 8-10 minutes. Any longer and the cervena will be over-done. Allow to stand for 5 minutes before carving into very thin slices.

  4. Cut a fresh French bread stick or ciabatta loaf in to thick slices and, if you prefer, grill the bread while the venison is standing. Brush the bread with olive oil.

  5. Place a whole basil leaf on the base of each slice of bread (if using) and arrange a few slices of the venison on top. Garnish with the Olive and Caper Crumble and serve warm.

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