SERIOUSLY GOOD VENISON
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Although this recipe is for roasted venison, the risotto goes equally well with steaks. The fragrant spiciness of lime zest makes a lovely complement to the summer treats of baby broad beans, asparagus and new peas. If you use pre-cooked risotto rice, follow the recommendations for liquid and cooking times on the pack, and adjust the stock accordingly. You may wish to use the zest from only one of the limes, though I like to use both. You can use any combination of spices you fancy, but these ones go well with the lime risotto. And other lovely vegetables can be used – mangetout peas, fresh green beans, bulb fennel – whatever is fresh and seasonal. To make it into a winter risotto, use pearl barley instead of rice, and wintry vegetables like celery, carrots and red peppers.
Allow 30-40 minutes to cook the risotto. Grate the zest off the limes and reserve. Trim the asparagus and chop into 2cm (1") lengths. Heat up the stock. Melt the butter in a large, deep frying pan, and gently fry the shallots till transparent. Add the rice and fry it gently for five minutes, then add the wine and the juice from the limes. Increase the heat and add a quarter of the stock and the lower ends of the chopped asparagus. Once it has been absorbed, add another quarter and keep stirring. Now start to roast the venison (see below). When the third quarter of stock is added, put in the middle parts of the asparagus as well.
When the last quarter of stock is added to the risotto, put in the broad beans, peas, asparagus tips, and lime zest. Check the seasoning and add salt, pepper and more lime zest if wished. Finally, stir in the grated Parmesan if wished – it makes the risotto more creamy but is not essential.
To roast the venison, heat the butter and oil in a pan. If you prefer a mild spice flavour, scrape most of them off before cooking; for a more spicy flavour leave them on. Brown the joint all over, then roast in a hot oven (230C/Gas 8/450F) for 2-3 minutes per centimetre (half inch) thickness, then remove to a warm place (about 80 degrees C) for a further 2-3 minutes per cm/half inch thickness. Scatter the fresh coriander over the risotto before serving with the venison.