Why not take a break from tradition this Christmas and impress your guests with this alternative dish to the usual Christmas turkey and ham.

Packed with festive flavours, Roast Wicklow Venison is sure to be a crowd pleaser. Graeme Dodrill, Head Chef of Peploe’s restaurant in Dublin 2 has shared his recipe with us… "This is a fantastic, warming, autumn/winter dish made with seasonal ingredients packed with flavour." 


  • 240g venison (haunch or loin cut)

  • Half head of red cabbage

  • 1 orange

  • a bottle of red wine

  • 150g brown sugar

  • 2 star anise

  • 2 shallots, finely diced

  • 1 cinnamon stick

  • 3 pickled walnuts, chopped (available in speciality food shops and M&S)

  • 2 large gherkins, diced

  • 200ml game jus (or good quality beef stock)

  • 20g thyme

  • 300g butter


Red cabbage

  • Thinly slice (chiffonade) the red cabbage and the peeled orange and put in a large pot.
  • Add the red wine, spices and sugar.
  • Cover the pot and slowly cook for two hours until soft, sweet and cooked through.


  • In a small pot, sweat down the shallots in 50g of butter, add thyme leaves, the star anise and the game jus (or beef stock).
  • Cook out and then add the diced gherkins and chopped walnuts.


  • Heat the oven to 180C 
  • Pan fry the venison for approximately two minutes, each side, to seal.
  • Put into the hot oven on a roasting tray for a further four minutes.
  • Take out and rest the meat for five minutes before carving. 

To serve:

Plate up with a good spoonful of red cabbage, rest the venison on top and gently coat with the sauce.

About the chef:

Graeme Dodrill returned from Dubai in 2018 where he spent almost two years as head chef at Dukes Dubai, a five-star luxury hotel and sister establishment to Dukes of London. It was during his time in Dubai that Graeme was awarded a BBC Good Food Award in the Best British Restaurant category. He is already well known on the Dublin restaurant scene having worked in some of the capital’s finest establishments including Suesey Street, One Pico, The Greenhouse and Mulberry Garden, as well as Pied a Terre in London.

Graeme, who is from Dublin says, “I love cooking high-end bistro food and this is what Peploe’s has always done best. Bistro means different things to different people but for me, it’s about taking simple ingredients and exciting our customers with beautiful and elegant dishes. At Peploe’s the focus is on substance over style and flavour rather than fads.”