Mouth-watering venison mince meatloaf

Angelo Georgalli shares his enthusiasm for fresh New Zealand produce and game with recipes from his book The Game Chef.  

Venison Meatloaf Wrapped in Bacon

Prep time: 25 minutes 
Cook time: 45 minutes 
Serves 5-6

With hot smoky bacon wrapped around a haloumi-filled venison meatloaf, this dish is many things: it’s rustic, it’s raw and it’s real.


1 Tbsp herb butter (see page 22)
2 onions, roughly chopped
1 Tbsp brown sugar
2 cloves garlic, crushed and roughly chopped
10 button mushrooms, sliced
1 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves
3 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 Tbsp tomato paste
2kg venison rump, trimmed and minced
1d cups breadcrumbs
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
1 Tbsp salt
1 Tbsp pepper
Butter or olive oil for greasing
6 strips streaky bacon
350g haloumi cheese, sliced
Manuka chips (optional)



Mesclun leaves
2 spring onions, chopped
Pitted olives
Extra virgin olive oil



Preheat the oven to 200°C.

In a large, hot frying pan, melt the herb butter and add the onion, brown sugar, garlic, mushrooms and thyme. Saute for 10 minutes or until the onion has softened and the mushrooms are golden brown. Stir in the Worcestershire sauce and tomato paste, then remove the pan from the heat. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and add the venison mince, breadcrumbs, cinnamon, and the salt and pepper. Mix well.

Grease a loaf tin with butter (or olive oil if you prefer). Arrange the bacon strips in the bottom of the tin allowing plenty of overhang on both sides. Add half the meatloaf mixture and press down with your fingers. Arrange the haloumi cheese slices on top, then press down the remaining mince mixture to cover the cheese. Once again, press down well with your fingers to compact the loaf. Lift the overhanging bacon strips to cover the meatloaf.

Bake the loaf in the oven for 30-40 minutes. If a smoky manuka flavour is desired, add some manuka chips to the bottom of the oven.

When the meatloaf is cooked, remove it from the tin and let it rest for a few minutes. Serve with a side of mesclun leaves and garnish with chopped spring onions, olives and a drizzle of olive oil.

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