Thursday, July 9, 2009
Roast Venison Blade, Quince Chutney and Red Wine Sauce
This is an adapted recipe by Mark Hix, from The Independent, Lifestyle and Food, UK. “Venison is a general term for red deer, roe deer, fallow deer and so on. Good restaurants, and butchers for that matter, should give their customers this kind of information, moreover where it's from. Otherwise it's like describing meat just as beef or lamb.” The saddle – the part that lies between the top of the hind legs and first ribs (comes with a bone) or rolled shoulder or blade is the recommended cut of venison for this recipe if you enjoy medium-rare doneness.
The haunches, similarly, unless broken down into specific muscles, is said to be on the tough side and don't lend themselves to medium-rare roasting. Butchers can cut the haunches into smaller cuts, equivalent to beef topside that can be roasted medium-rare and are easier to carve than the saddle, weighing about 500g so they won't serve as many people as a saddle, but they're pure meat, with no bone, unlike the saddle.
I used a blade of farmed venison from Hahndorf, a Germanic settlement east of Adelaide. Gamey flavours are commonly paired with juniper berries – a fruit from the evergreen tree that imparts a distinctive sweet-sharp taste whether dried or ripe, melding especially beautifully with the sauce in this recipe. The roast is best served alongside root vegetables. I recommend my Warm Beetroot, Sweet Potato and Caramelised Onion Salad with Garlic-Lemon Olive Oil Dressing.
Note: if your roast comes with a net holding it together, do not snip it off before roasting. Your butcher has rolled the shoulder of meat and held it together with the net so it is easier to roast, assisting in an even cooking, setting it into a presentable "shape and also makes it easier to carve.
Cooking time: 1 hour 20 mins
Ingredients: 1 saddle of venison, (1 kg); 2 onions, peeled and roughly chopped; 1 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped; 1 stick of celery; 2-3 sprigs rosemary; 5 juniper berries; A good knob of butter, softened; ½ tbsp flour; 25 - 50 ml red wine; 500 ml beef stock; Salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the quince chutney: 1 quince, peeled, quartered and the core removed; 40g granulated sugar; 3 juniper berries; Pinch of Cinnamon; Pinch of freshly grated Nutmeg
Method: Put the quince in a pan with the sugar, spices and juniper berries and cover with water. Bring to the boil and simmer for about 45 minutes or until soft and mashable. Drain in a colander and mash coarsely with a potato masher or in a food processor and transfer to a serving bowl.
Pre-heat the oven to 220ºC. Rub the blade with butter and season. Scatter the onion, carrots and celery in a roasting tray and lay the venison on top. Roast the saddle for 35-45 minutes for medium-rare and another 10-15 minutes for medium to medium well done. Any longer and it will end up dry.
Remove the venison from the roasting tray and keep warm in a very low oven, but don't let it cook any more. Put the roasting tray with the vegetables on a medium heat on top of the stove. Add the rosemary, juniper berries and flour and stir well. Gradually add the red wine and hot stock, stirring to avoid lumps forming and bring to the boil. Simmer for a few minutes then transfer to a saucepan, scraping the bottom of the tray to remove any residue from the venison. Simmer for 10-15 minutes or until thickened then strain through a fine meshed sieve.
Make sure you allow the roast to rest on a wooden chopping board, for about 10- 15 minutes before carving it, especially if serving medium-rare as it allows the blood to drain, if any.
To serve, carefully with a flexible sharp knife carve fillets into ½ to 1 cm slices on the bias and arrange on plates, with either a little red wine sauce poured over and a spoon of quince chutney on the side. If you prefer offer the red wine sauce in a gravy bowl and the quince chutney separately.