The invasive Species Cookbook - Kung Pao Venison
There are six species of deer in the UK of which Red and Roe deer are the only native species. Fallow deer are a long-standing naturalised species and Sika deer, Muntjac deer and Chinese Water deer were introduced in the last 150 years.
It is thought that deer are more abundant and widespread now than at any time in the past 1000 years and in increasing numbers in the countryside, excessive deer densities cause over-grazing and excessive browsing and trampling in sensitive habitats.
This has been attributed to Loss of characteristic woodland plant species such as the oxlip and bluebell; Declines in characteristic woodland bird species such as the nightingale due to loss of plant structural diversity and food supply; declines in invertebrate abundance and diversity, and Prevention of adequate tree regeneration. Other serious problems include disease transmission to humans and livestock.
Increasing numbers of deer in urban areas has led to several emergent problems including; Road traffic accidents; Damage to gardens, allotments and parks; attacks on pets by Muntjac deer and vice versa and violent attacks on deer by humans through illegal deer coursing and poaching.
Venison meat can provide a truly free range alternative to farmed products helping the environment in the process. This Invasive Species recipe is inspired by Chinese New year and is Kung Pao venison, stir-fried with the perfect combination of salty, sweet and spicy flavour!
venison (800g) cut into 1 inch cubes
230ml chicken stock
5 tablespoons light soy sauce
2 tablespoons Chinese black vinegar (or substitute good-quality balsamic vinegar)
2 tablespoon Chinese Shaoxing wine (or dry sherry)
2 teaspoon dark soy sauce
2 teaspoons hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon corn flour
4 tablespoons cooking oil
4-6 cloves garlic (chopped)
1 tablespoon ginger
1 red bell pepper (seeded and diced)
8-10 dried chilies cut into ½-inch pieces (adjust to taste)
1 tablespoon Sichuan peppercorns lightly toasted and ground
4 spring onions (1-inch pieces)
Handful roasted/salted peanuts
2 teaspoons sesame oil (optional)
1] Combine all ingredients for the sauce and venison in a shallow bowl; cover and marinate for 10 minutes longer (if time allows).
2] Whisk sauce ingredients together until sugar dissolves; set aside.
3] Heat a large pan or wok over high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of oil, allow to heat up, then add marinated venison. Fry venison for 3-4 minutes while stirring until the meat has browned. Remove from heat and set aside.
4] Add remaining cooking oil into the same pan/wok. Add the garlic, ginger, chili, diced peppers and Sichuan peppercorns and stir fry for 1 minute.
5] Give the prepared sauce a mix, then pour it into the pan and bring it to a boil while stirring.
6] Once it begins to thicken slightly, add venison back into the pan/wok and mix all of the ingredients through the sauce until the venison is evenly coated and sauce has thickened.
7] Stir in spring onions, peanuts and sesame oil (if using). Mix well and continue to cook for a further 2 minutes.
We served ours with stir fry noodles but it’s also good with fried rice!