Fresh take on the classics
To serve, you can layer this up on to each plate with some watercress – though frisée or Belgian endive will also work. Give guests about one third of a trout fillet, broken into pieces. A few walnuts add a bit of crunch.
ROAST LOIN OF VENISON WITH CHERRIES AND WALNUTS
1.2 kg loin of venison
1 bottle red wine
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
1 onion, peeled and chopped
Few sticks celery, chopped
300ml chicken stock
100g dried cherries
100ml port (optional)
50g chopped walnuts
2 tsp cornflour
Some sprigs thyme
1-2 tbsp redcurrant jelly
Optional seasonings: couple of cloves garlic, squeeze honey, knob butter
Salt and pepper
Marinate the venison overnight in a bowl or gratin dish with the red wine and the vegetables. Once you’ve marinated the meat, remove from the liquid and strain the wine into a medium saucepan. Discard the carrot, onion and celery. The idea is to get the sauce or gravy out of the way.
Let the meat dry as much as possible. Meanwhile, reduce the red wine by half by simmering it. You may occasionally have to discard any scum that rises. Add the chicken stock, cherries, port and chopped walnuts.
Mix the cornflour with a tablespoon of cold water and stir in a cup until smooth and then add to the gravy. Whisk and gently heat. Eventually you will feel it thickening, but be careful not to boil it vigorously as cornflour can lose its ability to thicken if it’s too vigorously heated. Taste and adjust the seasoning. It should be a nice, thick and glossy sauce. You can always add a good knob of butter to enrich it, or season by adding some garlic, or honey and thyme leaves. Alternatively you can always let it down with some more wine. Once you are happy with the flavour, you can set it aside to cool down and reheat when it’s time to serve.
To cook the venison, preheat the oven to 180 degrees/gas 4. Heat the olive oil in a pan and when it is practically smoking, sear the meat on one side. When you have good colour on it, turn it slightly to get more surface area browned. Season the meat really well, then transfer it to a roasting tray. Deglaze the frying pan with some water or wine or even a little sherry vinegar if you want to give the sauce some piquancy, and pour this into your gravy, as it will add to the flavour.
Tie up the venison with butchers twine at three centimetre intervals to help it form a nice cylindrical shape. It will only need about 30-40 minutes of cooking time, so bear that in mind when rallying your troops. Roast it in the oven for 25 minutes, and for the final 5-10 minutes smear the meat with some redcurrant jelly. You can do this with a brush; let the jelly down with a touch of warm water. Finish cooking and leave the meat somewhere warm to rest for 15 minutes. Carve and serve with a spoon of gravy.
Serves 8, or more
1.3 kg large potatoes
150ml olive oil
3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
Salt and pepper
150ml balsamic vinegar
You’ll probably need to cook this in two batches. Slice each potato in half (vertically) and cut each half into wedges. Fry the potatoes in a non-stick frying pan (for best results), in a half or a third of the olive oil, depending on how many batches you’re doing. You need to have a lid for this frying pan.