Venison and tomato Ragù with Polenta

Venison and tomato Ragù with Polenta

This Italian-inspired ragù includes fennel and tomatoes for a brightness and acidity that balances the rich, gamey Venison which is available from Turnbull's. Serves 4.


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 500g Diced Venison from Turnbull's 
  • ½ tsp fennel seeds, lightly crushed
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 small fennel bulb, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 200ml red wine
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 400g tin plum tomatoes
  • 300ml Beef stock 

For the polenta

  • 100ml whole milk
  • 100g quick cook polenta
  • 30g salted butter
  • 80g parmesan, finely grated, plus extra to serve


  1. Heat the olive oil in a casserole dish or heavy-based pan over a medium heat. Season the venison then – in batches if needed – add to the pan to brown on all sides (3-4 minutes). Use tongs to lift onto a plate.

  2. Heat the oven to 140°C fan/gas 3. Tip the fennel seeds into the same dish/pan and cook for a minute then add the onion, carrot and fennel with a pinch of salt. Cook over a low-medium heat for 12-15 minutes, until very soft. Stir in the garlic, cook for another minute, then add the tomato purée. Cook for a few minutes then increase the heat a little and pour in the wine. Bubble for a few minutes then add the bay leaf, tomatoes and stock. Bring to a simmer, cover with a lid and transfer to the oven. Cook for 2 hours 30 minutes until very tender.

  3. Remove the lid and cook for another 15 minutes to reduce the liquid a little. Meanwhile, for the polenta, put the milk in a saucepan with 400ml water and a good pinch of salt and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to low, pour in the polenta while stirring then cook for 5-8 minutes, stirring constantly until thickened and coming away from the sides of the pan. Stir in the butter and parmesan and season.

  4. Serve the ragù on top of the polenta with extra parmesan scattered on top.

Recipe from BBC Good Food. All rights reserved.