Recipe: New Zealand venison burgers with tomato chilli jam and side salads

It may sound unusual to substitute New Zealand venison for the traditional beef, but its beautiful rich flavour is ...
Yuki Kuwana

It may sound unusual to substitute New Zealand venison for the traditional beef, but its beautiful rich flavour is perfect for the grill.

Non-believers can use half ground beef in this recipe. When you find out how delicious the venison is, eliminate the ground beef altogether.

Ask your butcher to grind the venison for you for the best result. If that isn't possible, either pulse the venison in a food processor until ground, or if you feel really dedicated to this project just chop the venison by hand until it is the right size.

All of this is worth it, as this makes a tasty morsel your guests are bound to remember.


Serves: 6


1kg farmed New Zealand venison (any cut will do but the most cost-effective is from the leg)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 small bunch flat-leafed parsley, leaves finely chopped
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons Maldon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 hamburger buns


1. If the venison is not ground, place all the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until the mixture resembles mince. Form the meat into 6 patties, around 155g each, and refrigerate until cooking time.

2. Brush the burgers with olive oil and fry on a preheated grill for 4-5 minutes on each side. Do not overcook! This lovely lean meat is best served rare or medium rare.

3. Place each grilled burger on a bun, top with tomato chilli jam, serve with the summer salads that follow and waste no time getting burger to mouth.



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4 red-hot chillies, finely chopped
1 thumb fresh ginger, peeled and grated
5 large cloves garlic, minced
25ml (1 1/2 teaspoons) fish sauce
3 1/2 x 400g cans peeled tomatoes
750g (around 3 cups) sugar
150ml cider vinegar


1. Combine all ingredients in a saucepan, bring to the boil over medium heat, reduce to low and simmer for around 2 hours, stirring often so it doesn't scorch on the bottom. 

2. Allow the thick, glossy condiment to cool to room temperature then refrigerate until needed.

3. This recipe will make more than needed, but it is mildly addictive and you will be happy to have some stashed away in your refrigerator for any grilled meat, fish or prawns. It keeps for over a month.


Potato salad is an American summer classic, but it is heavy and laden with fat because of the usual mayonnaise.

This recipe is a healthy new twist on the classic with a vinaigrette dressing, adding the visual interest of urenika or other blue Maori potatoes.

This salad can even be done the day before and refrigerated, making it a nice side dish for a quick dinner.


450g new potatoes, washed
450g blue Maori potatoes, washed
2 teaspoons black mustard seeds
2 teaspoons white mustard seeds
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/4 cup Chardonnay vinegar (Ii use Forum; see suppliers)
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup chopped tarragon
1/4 cup chopped chives
salt and freshly ground black pepper


1. Place the new potatoes and Maori potatoes in separate saucepans and cover each with heavily salted water (they cook at different speeds so should be cooked separately). Place on high heat until they come to the boil then reduce to a simmer.

2. Meanwhile, combine the mustard seeds, lemon juice, vinegar and olive oil in a saucepan. Place over a medium heat and bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool to room temperature. This makes the potato salad dressing.

3. When the potatoes are cooked (a knife should slide in and out of the potato easily; around 20 minutes), drain and cool to room temperature.

4. Slice the potatoes into the desired size and place in a mixing bowl. Toss with the dressing and fresh chopped herbs. Add salt and pepper to taste (the salt will depend on how much you added to the potato cooking water). Set aside until ready to eat. 


This is a super-quick and easy side dish that is perfect for a picnic, backyard barbecue or fancy dinner. It is low in fat and high in nutrients but, best of all, it tastes great.

This recipe is actually better if made the day before, so plan accordingly. 


500g carrots, peeled and cut into fine julienne (best done with a mandoline)
375ml (1 1/2 cups) orange juice
1 thumb ginger, peeled and coarsely sliced
2 cinnamon sticks
1 clove garlic, sliced
1 stalk lemongrass, sliced
2 cloves
1 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper
50ml extra virgin olive oil
black and white sesame seeds to garnish
1 red chilli, thinly sliced
1/2 small bunch coriander, leaves picked off stalks


1. Place the carrots in a metal mixing bowl. In a medium saucepan combine the orange juice, ginger, cinnamon, garlic, lemongrass, cloves, salt and a few grinds of pepper. Place over medium heat and bring to a boil.

2. Boil the mixture for 5 minutes then strain over the carrots while still hot.

3. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and keep covered until cool (this will lightly cook and wilt the carrots).

4. Place the carrot slaw in a serving bowl, drizzle the olive oil over and sprinkle with sesame seeds, chilli and coriander.

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