Highland Venison – Pear, Chicory, Chocolate


Graham Campbell, one of Scotland’s youngest ever Michelin-starred chefs, has kindly shared with us a recipe from his menu at the Castlehill Restaurant on Exchange Street. This festive main course is perfect for warming you up on a chilly Scottish evening in the Christmas holidays. So why not try your hand at recreating Graham’s dish in your own home, or even better still, head down to the Castlehill Restaurant and enjoy one made by the master chef himself.



  • 4 x 120g venison loins
  • Vegetable oil
  • 20g unsalted butter

Sear venison in a pan until coloured all the way around. Add butter, place in a pre-heated oven at 180°C /350°F / Gas 4, and cook until the internal temperature reaches 55°C (about 5-7 minutes).


Dressed Chicory

  • 1 head of chicory
  • 5ml rapeseed oil

Pick the leaves and dress in the oil.


Poached Pear

  • 1 pear – peeled and cut in eighths
  • 235ml white dessert wine
    55g sugar
  • 30ml brandy
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 cloves

Mix all together in a pan, bring to the boil then leave to cool.


Butternut Squash

  • 1 butternut squash – peeled
  • 200ml double cream
  • 200ml semi-skimmed milk
  • 10ml vegetable oil

Cut the top half of butternut squash into 3” by 1” batons. Cook in a pan of salted water until tender.

Put the rest of the butternut squash in a pan with the oil and cook for 5 minutes without colouring.

Add the milk and cream and simmer until the butternut squash is soft.

Once cooked blend to a purée and pass through a fine chinois or sieve. Keep to one side.


Chocolate Sauce

  • 50g 70% chocolate
  • 10ml sherry vinegar
  • 10ml soya sauce
  • 20ml rapeseed oil

Put all the ingredients in a bowl and melt over a double boiler.



  • 6 juniper berries
  • 1 clove
  • 4 allspice berries
  • 235ml red wine
  • 2 sprigs of lemon thyme
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 10g 70% chocolate
  • 200ml beef stock
  • 200g chicken stock

Add the juniper, clove, allspice and red wine to a pan and reduce to nothing. Add the stock and reduce by half, then add the mustard and the chocolate. Pass through a fine strainer and season with salt to taste.


Crispy Kale

  • 20g queen kale
  • 500ml vegetable oil
  • Salt

Heat the oil in a pan to 180°C, add the kale and cook until crispy. Dry on a clean cloth and season.