With the drop in temperature and nights at home, we’re looking forward to a season of red wine and rich meats – stewed, roasted, slowly braised. 

English country estates are traditionally composed of a fine house, gardens and outbuildings, surrounded by rich parkland and farmland. Records suggest Hadspen House started as a farm in the 17th century; today, we’re continuing and expanding livestock and arable farming practices used here centuries ago. 

Our farming ethos focuses on sustainability, quality over quantity, and embracing long-forgotten ideas and species once popular in the pre-industrial farming era. Rather than being driven by a high output of one type of produce, we encourage a “patchwork quilt” of many enterprises to improve the biodiversity of our landscape; adopting livestock and crops that contribute to their surroundings.

Pedigree British White Cattle, grazing sheep and free roaming deer all benefit the grass beneath their feet in different ways – increasing the longevity of the land, establishing more variation in our forage, allowing for lucerne and herbal leys. In turn, improving both the quality and flavour of the meat.

Our herd of red and fallow deer live outside all year and are essentially wild – we don’t intervene with calving and only feed when there’s not enough grass. During winter, apple pulp waste from the Cyder Press mixed with estate grown barley provides plenty of nutrients; and the deer adore it.

Dispatched by an expert marksman, the deer are eating grass unaware at the moment they are culled. Aside from being the kindest possible way, it also benefits the meat as it is not filled with adrenalin, which would render it tough and flavourless.  

Head Chef of The Botanical Rooms, Ben Champkin, shares his recipe for a decadent venison recipe that you can prepare a day ahead of hosting.

Braised Venison Haunch with January King Cabbage (serves 8-10)

  • 5 litres good quality chicken stock (available from our Farm Shop and online)
  • 2-3kg piece of venison haunch on the bone 
  • 2 onions, chopped 
  • 1 head of garlic, split 
  • 2 bay leaves 
  • 100g rosemary 
  • 100g thyme 
  • 1 leek, chopped 
  • 1 carrot, chopped 
  • Salt & pepper 
  • 1 x January King cabbage 
  • 1 x The Newt Cranberry & Blood Orange Chutney
  1. Preheat an ovenproof dish on the stove, and preheat the oven to 100ºC.
  2. Season the venison haunch well, then sear over the heat to colour all sides
  3. Remove the haunch and in the same pan, sweat the vegetables until caramelised 
  4. Add the fresh herbs, season with salt
  5. Place the haunch back in the ovenproof dish 
  6. Cover completely with chicken stock, bring to simmer 
  7. Cover in tin foil and cook in the oven for 12 hours 
  8. The next day, remove the haunch and flake down using a fork 
  9. Pass the stock through a colander into a jug, to remove vegetables

Our Butchers have prepared an indulgent range of high-welfare festive meats, from venison to goose, 3-bird roasts and pigs in blankets. Visit our Farm Shop or CLICK HERE to shop online, with free delivery at your chosen date and time.