Contini Edinburgh // About // Blog // Year of Food & Drink Scotland 2015 – Roe Deer Recipe
The Scottish Cafe and Restaurant Roe Deer with Cabbage and Red Currant Jelly

Year of Food & Drink Scotland 2015 – Roe Deer Recipe

20 January 2015

Roe Deer with Cabbage and Red Currant Jelly

The roe deer is the Monarch of the Glen. It’s also the food of kings so it’s not cheap but rather a treat for that special occasion. This dish can be really hearty or remarkably light, depending on whether you choose to use the potatoes or not. Red deer is deliciously lean meat and is best served rare. It is therefore really important to seal it in a very hot pan then transfer to the oven to finish cooking.


For the Roe Deer and Cabbage

800g loin or fillet of roe deer

125g Savoy cabbage


250g waxy potatoes (optional)

freshly ground black pepper

2–3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

4 sprigs of thyme, leaves only

50g whole blanched almonds

1 garlic clove, thinly sliced

1 dried red chili, crumbled

50g golden sultanas


For the Roe Deer and Cabbage

Leave the loin or fillet of deer at room temperature for about 30 minutes. This is important as the meat is so tender that it doesn’t require a 
huge amount of cooking but you must ensure it gets hot in the middle. Meanwhile, shred the cabbage and blanch it by plunging it in boiling salted water for a few minutes until tender but not overcooked. Drain and refresh in cold water, then drain again thoroughly and set aside. Peel the potatoes, if using, and put them in a pan with salt and cold water to cover. If necessary, cut them to ensure they are all the same size. Bring to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer until the potatoes are tender. Drain well and leave to cool.

Preheat the oven to 180oC/350oF/Gas 4. Ensure the deer is well trimmed. The loin may require more trimming than the fillet. Season with salt and pepper and place in a cast-iron pan or roasting tray that is big enough for the whole piece of meat. Add enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Place over a medium heat and when the oil is hot, add the meat and sear it on all sides until golden and crisp. Season with a little more salt and add the thyme. Cook in the preheated oven for 10 minutes.

Remove from the oven, cover with tinfoil and a few tea towels to keep the meat warm. Leave to rest. Meanwhile, heat 1 tbsp. olive oil in a large frying pan. When the oil is hot, add the almonds and fry until golden. Remove from the pan, leave to cool, then crush to a rough crumble.

Heat enough olive oil in the same pan to partially coat the bottom. When it is hot, add the garlic and chili. Cook for 1 minute over a medium heat to release the flavours. Add the sultanas and warm through for 1 minute. Add the blanched cabbage and increase the heat. If using the potatoes, slice them thickly and add to the pan. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Keep moving the pan to warm everything through, adding a little more oil if required. Add the crumbled almonds.

Carve the deer meat into 8 slices and serve 2 per person with a ladleful of the cabbage and a generous spoonful of redcurrant jelly, warmed in a small pan.

For the Red Currant Jelly

At The Scottish Cafe & Restaurant we love serving this with venison but it’s also delicious with our homemade chicken liver pate!

MAKES 3 x 450g jars

1.5kg redcurrants

squeeze of lemon juice

2 star anise

1.5kg granulated sugar

For the Red Currant Jelly

Sterilise the kilner or jam jars according to your usual method. Place the redcurrants in a preserving pan with the lemon juice and star anise and slowly bring to the boil. Stir continuously to break down the redcurrants and release their juice. When they have all burst, add the sugar and increase the heat. Bring to the boil, stirring continuously so the sugar doesn’t burn. Boil for 10 minutes until the colour changes.

Place a double layer of fine cotton or muslin over the top of a large double- handled pan and tie it loosely around the handles. Gently pour the hot jelly onto the cloth and let the juices drain through. Squeeze a little of the fruit through the cloth, but not too much or it will make the jelly cloudy. Remove the star anise. Transfer the strained jelly to the steralised jars, cover each with a circle of greaseproof paper and seal while still hot. Leave to cool.


The Scottish Cafe Menu
Our Scottish Kitchen Garden
Carina's Cookbook
National Gallery of Scotland