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Top chef Steve Angier from The Packhorse Inn in Moulton cooks up Houghton estate venison





This month, Suffolk News welcomes a new food writer in Steve Angier, head chef at The Packhorse Inn in Moulton near Newmarket. He tells us why he loves winter and the comfort food it inspires.

Last week I was lucky enough to take part in a team away day at the beautiful Houghton Hall Estate and deer park in North Norfolk. We spent the day learning about sustainable game and land management, and how game is the ultimate sustainable and healthy source of protein. Excited by my day out in the Norfolk fields I couldn’t wait to get back in the kitchen at The Packhorse Inn to create a Houghton inspired dish.

Winter is my favourite time of year. When the nights draw in and weather gets colder, country pubs really come into their own, with fires roaring it isn’t difficult to imagine sitting in a cosy corner with a well poured pint or a whiskey if you’re really feeling the cold. The food on my winter menu reflects the season in terms of produce and leans towards hearty comfort food, perfect for winter suppers – game as an ingredient hits the spot!

Steve Angier from Moulton's Packhorse Inn
Steve Angier from Moulton's Packhorse Inn

For this dish I pared venison with some pumpkin. Pumpkin as an ingredient always seems to get underused and the food waste created at Hallowe’en is sad to watch, so this is a way to do something good with an underused vegetable. I use Japanese Sika deer for this dish, the Sika was introduced by the Victorians to the UK in about 1860. At home you can pick up local deer from independent butchers and farm shops.

Cumin roasted Houghton estate venison with roast pumpkin, pumpkin puree, spiced pumpkin seed and date ketchup

300g loin of Houghton estate venison loin

50g Maldon sea salt

10g cumin seed

10g coriander

30g butter

Steve Angier's November recipe featuring Norfolk venison
Steve Angier's November recipe featuring Norfolk venison

Purée

½ pumpkin, diced

½ onion, diced

1 garlic clove

Pint of veg stock

5 coriander seeds

Roast pumpkin

½ pumpkin

Garlic

Thyme

Rosemary

Splash Hill Farm rapeseed oil

Date ketchup

500g date

60ml cider vinegar

60g dark brown sugar

Pint of water

.

Spiced pumpkin seeds

150g pumpkin seeds

Cumin

Coriander

Fennel seed

Black peppercorns

Salt

Splash of Hill Farm rapeseed oil

Sauce

1kg venison trimmings

1 carrot

1 onion

1 stick celery

4 garlic clove

500ml red wine

Thyme

Rosemary

Cumin seed

3 teaspoons tomato purée

2l chicken stock

Sauce

Roast all ingredients, except tomato paste and chicken stock, till golden, drain off fat and add to a saucepan.

Add stock and paste and cook slowly for one hour, then strain all the veg and trimmings out, and reduce the liquid till you get the consistency of a light gravy.

Roast pumpkin:

Cut half a pumpkin into wedges dress with oil season and scatter garlic thyme and rosemary over, then roast in oven for around 40 minutes golden and roasted.

Pumpkin purée:

Using the other half of the pumpkin, take the skin off and dice. Fry the onion, garlic and coriander, add the pumpkin, and cook in a pan for a couple of minutes, then add stock. Cook out for a further 10 minutes and then strain and blend till smooth. Put in a pan till ready to warm up.

Date ketchup:

To make the ketchup, add all the ingredients into a pan and boil for about 10 minutes till it starts to thicken, then blend till smooth, season and chill.

Spiced pumpkin seed

Blend all the dry ingredients, then toss the the pumpkin seeds through the spices with a splash of oil so they stick to the seeds, then bake at 180C for 10 minutes.

To cook the meat

Blend the salt and spices to make a spiced salt and season the loin generously, seal the venison on all sides in a hot pan then finish with a little butter and leave to rest – you want to cook the venison nice and pink, so around 2 minutes on each side, make sure you spoon the foaming butter all over as you want all those spices coating the meat.

Steve Angier is Head Chef currently holding the reins at The Packhorse Inn, Moulton, just outside Newmarket.

Steve began his career 20 years ago at Michelin starred Zum Zaringer, in Bern, Switzerland. From there he travelled around Europe as Head Training Chef for a group of hotels located in ski resorts, opening kitchens, developing menus and training brigades.

After returning home to his native Essex, Steve focused on developing his own style and passion for the region’s produce, from Norfolk tomatoes to herbs from the pub’s kitchen garden to Maldon oysters, farmed close to where he grew up.

A highlight of the year for Steve is game season where he receives birds still warm from local shoots, creating dishes that champion the sport and seasonal ingredients that can be foraged locally like brambles and plums.

Steve’s fun and cheeky nature is said to shine through in his desserts where he enjoys taking old favourites or English classics and creating something fresh and new. This autumn, Steve’s new dessert ‘Tea and Toast’ will be taking pride of place on The Packhorse pudding menu – an Early Grey set custard, with a milk crumble and brown bread and marmalade ice cream.

The Packhorse Inn is part of the Chestnut Group (01638 751818).