April 1st is the start of the Roe buck season. What better time to try this recipe, Roe liver with crisp bacon and buttered cabbage.


Now the clocks have shifted and Spring is here it is time to slough off the winter and embrace new sporting and taste delights.

April 1st is the start of the roe buck season, and any walk on a glorious April morning will see the countryside at its finest – the birds, the bees and, from my point of view, the Roe bucks are all out having a whale of a time.

Of course, the odd Roe buck will have to have a rotten April to make our venison recipe work.

SERVES 2 (main) or 4 (starter)

  • Fresh roe liver, 400g
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 200ml port
  • 1 jellied beef stock cube
  • 1 tsp cumberland sauce
  • 2 rashers excellent bacon
  • 1 savoy cabbage
  • 100g (31⁄2oz) butter


Start by cutting the liver (with the membrane already removed) into 1in tranches.


Season the liver with salt and black pepper.


Meanwhile, in a shallow pan, reduce the port by half, then add the stock and cumberland sauce.


Let it reduce a bit more, check the seasoning and your game gravy is ready. (Who says cooking is hard?)


Pop two rashers of bacon in between two baking trays and put in a hot oven for 10 minutes until crisp. This is a really useful cheffy technique that keeps the bacon flat and crisp.


We do these in advance of service and keep them on a paper towel in a Tupperware box until needed.


Cook the cabbage until just tender, then drain well and add half the butter, some salt and lots of pepper. Keep the cabbage warm.


If you want to, mix some mashed potatoes with lots of hot cream and butter to form a rich puree (although not essential).


OK, now for the moment of truth: get a small omelette pan nice and hot, and drop the remaining butter in. Allow it to foam, then lay the slices of liver in the pan and cook without touching for one minute.


Then turn them, spooning foaming butter over the slices at the same time. Turn twice more, spooning each time until it has cooked for four minutes. Now remove and sit the liver on kitchen paper for four minutes to rest and you are done.


To serve this dish: spoon some creamy mash on to the plate, add a pile of buttery cabbage and lay the tranches of liver on top.


Dress them with your (slightly cheating but rather good) game gravy and Robert, as they say, is your uncle.