Signe Johansen's Venison meatballs with wild mushroom & chocolate sauce

Published Tuesday, Nov 8 2016, 11:03 GMT  |  By  |  Add comment
We were lucky enough to spend an evening with Scandinavian chef Signe Johansen recently and she served up this amazing feast of Venison meatballs with wild mushroom and chocolate sauce, beetroot and potato horseradish mash and spiced, buttered greens.

signe johansen's Venison Meatballs with Wild Mushroom & Chocolate Sauce

© sainsbury's

Doesn't it look amazing? The best thing is that all the ingredients are in season now so it's the perfect time of year to make this winter warmer.

The rich venison meatballs (which we bought ready made) are a nod to the Nordic love of a good meatball, and the intensely flavoured mushroom and chocolate sauce marries brilliantly with gently spiced savoy cabbage and the punchy beetroot and potato horseradish mash. Yum!


  • 2 x packets of Sainsbury's Taste the Difference Venison Meatballs
  • 1x 30g packet of by Sainsbury's dried mushroom selection
  • 1 small glass (125ml) red wine
  • 1x 500ml packet beef stock
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 200 ml creme fraiche
  • 40g dark chocolate (at least 70%)
  • 1tbsp grainy mustard
  • 1 bunch parsley
  • Sea salt and black pepper
  • Vegetable oil for frying the meatballs
  • 2 x packets of by Sainsbury's beetroot, potato and horseradish mash
  • 1 x savoy cabbage, core removed and chopped
  • 50g butter
  • 1 tbsp caraway seeds
  • 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 tbsp. red wine vinegar


1 Start by placing a spoonful of vegetable oil in a medium-large frying pan and warming over a medium heat. Add the meatballs and fry until evenly brown on all sides for a few minutes.

2 Meanwhile place the wild mushrooms in a bowl and cover with 250ml boiling water so they swell up. Once they’ve infused for about 10 minutes drain the mushroom liquid and reserve this for the sauce. You may want to add a clean J-cloth to a sieve before draining the mushrooms so you keep any grit from the liquid. Rinse the wild mushrooms to clean them of any grit as well. Chop them finely and keep for the sauce.

3 Remove the meatballs from the pan once they’ve been seared on the outside and place in a separate bowl while you prepare the sauce. Using the same pan, add the red wine, the beef stock, the mushroom liquid, Worcestershire sauce and reduce this over a high heat by about half.

4 While this is reducing prepare the beetroot and potato mash according to the packet instructions and roughly chop the cabbage.

5 In a separate saucepan, place 50g butter and the caraway seeds, warming over a gentle heat before adding the cabbage and the vinegar or lemon juice along with another tablespoonful of water. Cover the pan and wilt the cabbage over a medium heat, checking every few minutes to stir the cabbage.

6 Next add the creme fraiche, dark chocolate and mustard to the pan with the mushroom liquid and keep simmering for a couple of minutes. Check the seasoning - it should have a rich, deep savoury flavour, and if need be add sea salt and black pepper to balance out the flavours. You can add a little more dark chocolate if you wish, or indeed more creme fraiche.
Once the sauce is the right flavour for you, add the meatballs and chopped mushrooms and gently simmer for a few minutes over low heat.

7 When you’re ready to serve, place the beetroot potato mash in a wide pasta bowl and serve the meatballs on the side with a generous portion of the sauce, and a scattering of chopped or whole leaves of parsley. Place the spiced buttered cabbage on a platter for you all to share...

Chef's tip: If you have some fresh mushrooms, simply chop and cook them in butter over a medium-high heat and add them to the sauce either with the wild mushrooms or as a substitute. If you replace the wild mushrooms with the cooked fresh ones, add the equivalent liquid in extra stock of choice. Instead of beef stock you can use chicken stock. If you like your greens, this dish is also delicious with steamed broccoli and green beans.

Check out more winter warmer recipes in our gallery below