Roast saddle of venison with prune, bacon and sage stuffing

  • Serves 6-8
  • A little tricky

A rich venison dish with prune, bacon and sage stuffing - perfect for a Christmas feast

Celeriac and potato dauphinoise



  • Caul fat 4-6 sheets, soaked in water for 5 minutes (request this from your butcher)
  • Sage leaves 12-16
  • Boned saddle of wild venison 1, 2.5-3kg
  • Salt and pepper

For the stuffing

  • Unsmoked rindless bacon rashers 200g
  • Venison liver 150g, (or pork liver) trimmed and cubed
  • Very fatty pork belly 250g, cubed
  • Onion 1, diced
  • Garlic cloves 2, peeled and grated
  • Orange zest 1/2
  • Thyme leaves handful, bunch
  • Bay leaves 3, very finely chopped
  • Egg 1, lightly whisked
  • White breadcrumbs 50g
  • Stoned prunes 100g


To make the stuffing

  • Step 1

    To make the stuffing, roughly chop the bacon and place it in a large bowl with the venison or pork liver  and fatty pork belly. Add the onion, garlic, orange zest, thyme, chopped bay leaves and mix well. 

    Pass this mixture through a mincer and return it to the bowl. Add the egg, breadcrumbs and prunes, then season and mix everything together.

    Mix the stuffing together (Matt Austin)
  • Step 2

    Remove the caul fat from the water

    Remove the caul fat from the water
    Remove the caul fat from the water (Matt Austin)

     and lay it out over a large chopping board or clean work surface, overlapping the sheets so they form a surface area large enough to envelop the entire saddle once stuffed. Scatter over the sage leaves randomly, then place  4–5 lengths of butchers string, each around 50cm long, over the caul at an even distance apart.

  • Step 3

    Lay the venison on top of the caul and string, skin-side down, then spoon the stuffing down the centre between the two loins, shaping it with your hands into an even sausage form. Arrange the fillets, if they are loose, alongside too. Fold in the sides of the venison to encase the stuffing as neatly and evenly as you can. Now bring up the strings and tie them off to secure the rolled meat. Lift the caul over the venison in neat ordered folds. Carefully lift the saddle and turn it over and place in a large roasting tin.

  • Step 4

    Pre-heat the oven to 200°C fan/390°F/gas mark 6. Place the venison in the oven and roast for 15–20 minutes, then turn the heat down to 180°C fan/350°F/gas mark 4 and continue to cook for a further 40 minutes, or until a meat thermometer pushed into the joint reaches 60°C, for medium-rare meat. Remove the venison, cover and allow it to rest for 15 minutes.

  • Step 5

    Slice the meat and stuffing and serve.