Ben Batterbury's Venison Tartare With Blackcurrants, Gin And Chocolate

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Ben Batterbury's Venison Tartare With Blackcurrants, Gin And Chocolate

In May 2011, 32-year old Bristol-born Ben Batterbury, the head chef at Queenstown's prestigious hotel The Rees, presented a menu of New Zealand flavours at the famous Beard House in New York, the home for food writers and chefs in America.

His dishes were much acclaimed and the whole event received great press (see here for an example), yet Batterbury -- when I met him at The Rees in the weeks before he went over to New York -- struck me as modest, witty, partial to the good times and a man who must be mercifully free of ego and volatile outbursts in the kitchen.

ben_1Just a nice bloke basically, and I figured he could have presented anything from The Rees' restaurant and impressed the world's best.

He was also generous enough to offer this recipe for venison. Have a go, it is exceptional and all you need do is follow the instructions. (And although he say it serves four as a starter why not just make it for two and dig in?) 


300g Venison striploin or Denver leg finely chopped or minced
½ Red Onion Finely chopped
2 tblsp chopped fresh Chervil
½ lemon
salt, sugar and olive oil


Mix the meat herbs and onion together, season near to serving with salt, a pinch of sugar, a squeeze of lemon juice and a drizzle of oil. Reserve in fridge.

200g fresh or frozen Blackcurrants
400ml Cider Vinegar
275g Sugar
200g water
Corn flour mixed with cold water to form a paste
1 sprig Blackcurrants stems removed

Warm everything in a pan except the corn flour and the sprig of blackcurrants and blend in a liquidiser. Let the liquid drip through a clean tea towel to remove the fruit bits. Return this to a pan. Add the corn flour little by little to the vinegar to thicken to a thin syrup. Leave to cool and add the remaining blackcurrants.

125g Gin
250 g water
1tsp juniper berries crushed or ground
1 lemon juice
2g Agar agar powder
sugar to taste

Place all in a pan and bring to the boil whilst whisking all the time. Add the lemon juice and add the sugar to taste then pass through a fine sieve to remove the juniper and pour into a greased plastic tub and chill. When set dice into cubes.


Divide the venison between four rings and put onto a plate. Mix a little mayo with some horseradish sauce and spoon a little on top of the venison. Spoon around the blackcurrant dressing and place a few cubes of the jelly around. Finely grate some dark bitter chocolate all over the dish and serve with a cucumber and radish salad dressed with the blackcurrant vinegar and a little oil.


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