Venison with Cranberries and Chocolate Sauce
I’ve been a bit slack in the cooking department lately. Meaning I’ve made some yummy things but since I never took any pictures there was no use in sharing with the rest of you. So today I made it my mission to incorporate a little gourmet photography into my day.
Venison. Who doesn’t love it? If you have never tried, either because it’s hard to find, too expensive or just because of Bambi then let me enlighten you. Venison is YUMMY. Like, seriously very VERY yummy. The type of yummy that makes you swoon. At least it makes me swoon. I love Swooning over food!! One of my brothers is a pretty good shot and lives nearby to some friends of his who have issues with feral Deer on their grazing land. I cannot recall how many times I’ve said “I’ll pay for some good Vension” however I am yet to recieve any. I have no idea if this is because he’s not been hunting (slackass!) or if he’s just not had any luck. Having the nearest Venison producer I know of at Mudgee (slightly too far away for a quick visit!!) I had to resort to the frozen section of one of my local butchers. They have quite an extensive range of different game and even though its ridiculously expensive, pricey Venison is better than no Venison at all (and it’s not like we have this kind of thing every day..).
Danni’s Venison with Cranberries and Chocolate Sauce.
As usual, I looked over about a zillion different recipes for Venison before “getting the general idea” and ditching them all to come up with something of my own. (This is how I cook most things as we know, so please don’t look so surprised). Remember I don’t normally measure so Ive done my best with the quantities. This served 2 (and a half).
You will need:
400g Venison Fillet
1 x small garlic clove – halved and smashed
1/2 a small brown onion or 2 x shallots if you have those ( I used the onion. the shallots in my garden left a lot to be desired!)
1 x small bunch fresh thyme
100ml (or so!!!) Red Wine (A point to consider. I normally go by the rule of “Don’t cook with anything you wouldn’t drink yourself”. The wine I used was an el cheapo from our local shop which even though its mass made and not very expensive was actually not that bad. Not great mind you, but not bad. HOWEVER. After actually eating this meal the general consensus was it deserved a bloody nice bottle of red. So please – do yourself a favour and buy a quality wine! What you don’t use in the cooking you get to enjoy:)
1/4 cup cranberries or rehydrated craisins ( I used the crasins)
75g butter (25g each for mash, beans and sauce)
2 x good swigs of cream (about a 1/4 cup each for mash and sauce??)
Salt & White pepper
1 x rasher of streaky bacon or smoked ham (I used the ham)
A good handful of green string beans
3 medium size potatoes
20g good quality dark chocolate 70% or above (the darker the better, I used Lindt 85%)
A few good lugs of extra virgin olive oil
Now To Cook:
Preheat your oven to 200deg C;
Top and tail your beans and place with 25g of the butter in a microwave proof container with lid or plastic bag (tied). Set Aside;
If using Crasins, cover with boiling water in a bowl. Set Aside;
Make your mash but stop before adding butter & cream. Set Aside and keep warm;
Chop shallot/onion, bacon/ham, and stick in a heavy based oven proof saucepan (mine is enamel coasted cast iron);
Half and smash your garlic clove and add to pan;
Add your fresh thyme – stalks and all – no need to remove the leaves;
Add your olive oil and sick on a med-high heat;
Fry until well cooked and the onion is translucent;
Scrape the mixture to sides of pan and add your Venison to the middle. Sear quickly on all sides to brown;
Transfer the whole pan to the preheated oven for approx 10mins. (This is where it gets interesting. Venison is best served med-rare. Depending on your pan, your oven and the thickness of the Venison fillet you use will alter your cooking time. My rule of thumb is that when pressed firmly with a pair of tongs, the meat gives fairly well but doesn’t “squash” all the way down (if you get what I mean). This is generally med-rare. If you can press the fillet down half its thickness, it’s done!!);
While the meat is in the oven, add the butter & cream and salt and white pepper to your mash and mix well;
Pop your bag/container of beans in the microwave for 2 mins on high (they should be soft with a bit of bite);
Take the pan out of the oven, the meat out of the pan and rest on a board;
Stick the pan back on the heat and remove the thyme stalks and garlic clove. Discard;
Add the red wine. Scrape away all the sticky goodness from the bottom of the pan and mix well until reduced by half;
Add the drained cranberries (or fresh if using) and the Chocolate. Give a good stir;
Take off the heat onto a cold hotplate and add your swig of cream. Mix well. If it reduces too much you can add a little more cream or a swig of water;
Slice up your Venison and add the meat juices to the sauce and stir well (makes a WORLD of difference I can tell you!);
Plate up your mash and beans, top with your slices of Venison and a few spoonfuls of the sauce.
Serve and enjoy!
P.S – I just thought I would add a pic of the plate after the meal….please note the distinct lack of ANYTHING on this plate! Ha! Success!!!