Archive of BBC Food Recipes

Venison with mole and cheese quesadillas

Prep time 30 mins to 1 hour
Cook time 30 mins to 1 hour
Serves 4-6
From Saturday Kitchen
Give venison a Mexican twist with this flavourful dish. Mole is a Mexican chilli and chocolate sauce, pairing chocolate with venison may seem unusual but it really works so give it a go!


  1. Preheat the oven to 220C/200C Fan/Gas 7. Bake the sweet potatoes until just cooked but firm. Peel and cut into thick rounds, then set aside.

  2. Meanwhile, for the mole, place a dry frying pan over a high heat. Add the ancho, pasilla and guajillo chillies and toast for 1-2 minutes, until puffed up, taking care not to burn them. Fill a bowl with hot water, then drop in the chillies and leave to soak for 20-30 minutes before deseeding and chopping them.

  3. Return the dry frying pan to a high heat and toast the cinnamon, star anise, cumin seeds, peanuts, almonds and sesame seeds until aromatic. Grind in a pestle and mortar.

  4. Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over a high heat. Add the onion, garlic, red chilli and tomatoes and cook until slightly charred. Add the hydrated chillies and cook for a few minutes. Tip the sauce into a blender and, when almost smooth, add the spice and nut mixture and a little chicken stock. Transfer to a saucepan, bring to the boil, then simmer for 2 minutes - you may need to loosen the sauce with some extra stock.

  5. Meanwhile, heat an ovenproof frying pan over a high heat. Rub the venison all over with the olive oil and season well with salt and pepper. Put in the pan, add the thyme and roast in the oven for 6-8 minutes.

  6. Put the sweet potato slices on a baking tray, add the butter and pomegranate molasses, and roast for 5 minutes.

  7. For the quesadillas, heat a large frying pan over a medium heat. Spread the tortillas with the curd cheese and then the corn relish. Top with the smoked cheese and then the second tortilla. Place in the pan and put a weight on top. Cook for 1 minute, until it smells toasty, then flip over and cook the other side while it’s weighted down. Remove from the pan and cut into eighths.

  8. Stir the chocolate into the mole. Carve the venison. Put sweet potato slices on the plates, top with the venison and serve with the mole and quesadillas


  • 2 sweet potatoes, cleaned
  • 2 x 180g/6oz venison loins, trimmed
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 sprigs of thyme
  • 50g/1¾oz butter
  • 50ml/2fl oz pomegranate molasses

For the mole

  • 2 ancho chilles, cleaned
  • 2 pasilla chilles, cleaned
  • 3 guajillo chilles, cleaned
  • ½ cinnamon stick
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 50g/1¾oz peanuts
  • 50g/1¾oz almonds
  • 50g/1¾oz sesame seeds
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, cut into chunks
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 red chilli, chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • little chicken stock
  • 50g/1¾oz dark chocolate, minimum 70% cocoa solids, chopped
  • salt and pepper

For the cheese quesadilla

  • 2 large tortillas
  • 50g/1¾oz curd cheese
  • 50g/1¾oz corn relish
  • 100g/3½oz smoked cheese, grated

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