A delicious steak sandwich with Cashel Blue and sticky onions
In Ireland we have amazing wild game. Treat yourself to an autumnal venison sambo
Venison steak sandwiched with sticky onions and Cashel Blue butter
The autumn food season is in full swing – pumpkins, turnips and hearty greens are in abundance, and the nights are drawing in. It is my favourite time of year. I see the hazels falling from the trees, and we are going into wild game season.
Game seems to freak a lot of people out, but in Ireland we have amazing wild game available to us. I have started off here with a beginner’s nod to game, so instead of using steak here, I am cooking with venison. I marinate it and turn it into delicious venison steak sandwiches with whipped Cashel Blue butter, some sticky onions and green leaves.
I found my game supplier via an unusual sourcing route – it all came about when Eamon Giblin went shooting with my beautician in Galway. So, after a handy eyebrow shape and eyelash tint, I walked out with his number; eight years on, he is still supplying us with wild game from the west.
This wild food is a real treat. I don’t really start using it until November 1st. I like to give the whole season time to develop naturally. Have a go at eating some amazing game this winter.
VENISON STEAK SANDWICHED WITH STICKY ONIONS AND CASHEL BLUE BUTTER
500g venison loin, trimmed
2 white onions, thinly sliced
1 tbsp soft brown sugar
1 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tsp wholegrain mustard
3 tsp soy sauce
2tbsp cracked black pepper
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp paprika
3 tsp sea salt
2 crusty baguettes, cut lengthways
Rocket or watercress to garnish
1. For the venison marinade, in a mixing bowl whisk together the sherry, soy, black pepper, cumin, paprika and the wholegrain mustard. Place the venison in the marinade. Marinate for at least one hour, but the longer the better – overnight in the fridge is good.
2. Heat a tablespoon of oil in a heavy-based saucepan. Add the onions and sweat them down for 30 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent sticking. When the onions have visibly changed colour to a golden brown, add the sugar and butter. Season well with salt and pepper and continue to caramelise for a further 10 minutes until the onions are sticky and a rich brown colour. Remove from pan and set aside.
3. Allow the venison loin to come up to room temperature, so remove it from fridge at least 45 minutes before cooking.
4. Using a cast-iron skillet or grill, place on a high heat until the pan is almost smoking. Coat the venison lightly in oil and add it to the pan. Sear the meat on each side for three to five minutes for rare, eight to 10 minutes for medium rare. Remove it from pan and rest it for 10 minutes.
5. Preheat the grill on medium high. Cut the baguettes lengthways and toast until golden brown. Generously spread the toast with the Cashel Blue cheese butter. Carefully slice the venison and assemble it on the baguette, add the onions and cut into four portions. Garnish with rocket or watercress.
CASHEL BLUE BUTTER
90g unsalted butter, softened
30g Cashel Blue cheese
2 cloves garlic, minced
Small bunch of flat-leaf parsley, chopped finely
2 tsp wholegrain mustard
1. Mix the softened butter, garlic, parsley, and mustard together and season with salt and pepper. Crumble in the blue cheese, and mash it all together using a fork or a potato masher.
2. Place in an airtight container and set aside. This butter will also keep for three weeks in the fridge.
FLORENCE FENNEL, RADICCHIO AND APPLE SALAD WITH ROASTED PECANS
2 bulbs fennel
1 head radicchio, torn
2 Granny Smith apples
Half bunch fresh dill, finely chopped
2 large lemons, juiced and zested
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp Cajun seasoning
2 tsp demerara sugar
Sea salt and cracked black pepper
1. Preheat an oven to 180 degrees Celsius, or equivalent.
2. Place the pecans on a lined baking tray, season with demerara sugar, Cajun seasoning and a drizzle of olive oil.
3. Roast for three to five minutes, give the pecans a mix and roast for a further three to five minutes. Keep an eye on them because they will cook quickly.
4. Remove from the oven and set aside.
5. Put the juice and zest of the lemons in to a large mixing bowl.
6. Thinly slice the fennel and add straight to the lemon juice, so it doesn’t go brown.
7. Core the apples and slice into thin wedges and add them to the bowl.
8. Add the torn radicchio and dill and season generously with salt and pepper.
9. Transfer to a serving dish, scatter the roasted pecans over the top, drizzle with olive oil, and serve.