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Game is in season and on the menu

On a recent visit to our trusted game supplier, South Downs Venison and Game in Duncton, Petworth, Christian collected a batch of their fresh mixed game meat – venison, pheasant and partridge.

While he was there, owner Jack Smallman made the time to show him round the 1500-acre estate on which he manages the wild roe and fallow deer population, so Christian could see first-hand the provenance of the meat.

Jack and Christian, Jack pointing across the land

The life of a gamekeeper

“My father has been a gamekeeper for 47 years, I was brought up on the land,” said Jack, so a life outdoors was a natural choice for him. “It’s been ingrained in my blood, from an early age. I’m passionate about this area of the South Downs, it’s a lovely place to be.”

It’s a good game to be in

In 2008, along with his wife Jess, Jack set up South Downs Venison. He saw a niche in the game dealing market to create something different from what was already available, something that had not been done before.

He wanted to supply fresh, locally-sourced wild venison throughout every stage of production - ‘from field to plate’ as he puts it. “I saw an area that had not been touched, there was no art to sales and I thought there could be. I like to be able to oversee the process from the very beginning to the finished article, a quality product going out.”

Wild venison meat
A Pheasant in grass

From field to plate

Although their speciality is venison, South Downs Venison also supply other wild game, from birds such as partridge, pheasant, grouse and duck to rabbit and hare, all sourced from well-known local parks and estates.

They prepare everything themselves fresh on site, they then pack it ready for their customers, who range from individuals buying from their online shop to trade and retail clients. Sourcing local is very much in keeping with Mud’s values. “For us, it’s all about the provenance of the ingredients,” says Christian. “They are a South Downs company like we are, a family firm like us, supplying exceptional quality products. That is what’s important to me.”

2 x partridge packaged, Jack holding

Game Pie

Mud’s Game Pie is packed with venison, partridge and pheasant, as well as smoked lardons, mushrooms and juniper berries, all gently simmered for 3 hours in a satisfyingly rich, red wine sauce. It’s a top award-winner – twice Class Champion at the British Pie Awards.

Wild Venison in Red Wine Gravy Pie

Locally sourced wild venison is gently simmered in our flavoursome red wine gravy, infused with subtle herbs and spices. Encased in our legendary buttery shortcrust pastry. A silver medal winner at the British Pie Awards, this pie is a luxurious addition to any Christmas menu.

What to serve with game

There are many good options for vegetables to serve with venison and game dishes. Popular choices include roast potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips, Brussels sprouts and green beans. But you can’t go wrong with a portion of our thick cut, triple-cooked Beer Battered Chips, a truly moreish accompaniment for a game pie meal.

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