Roast Venison loin with chestnut and juniper puree, cep, fig and cime di rapa

Tom Kemble

Tom Kemble

4th February 2016

Roast Venison loin with chestnut and juniper puree, cep, fig and cime di rapa

Venison recipes are becoming more popular in recent times as venison becomes a more mainstream meat in the UK. With flavours and cooking methods to suit a range of skill sets, why not give this Roast Venison loin with chestnut and juniper puree, cep, fig and cime di rapa recipe a try for yourself? This is a great earthy Autumnal recipe, highlighting the bountiful produce currently in season.

Ingredients

  • 1 x Aged Saddle of Venison – Fallow deer/Sika deer
  • 12x ceps
  • 8 x soleill figs
  • 1kg- cime di rapa (turnip tops)
  • 1kg- chestnuts
  • Juniper berries
  • Sherry vinegar
  • Beef dripping
  • Garlic cloves (skin on)
  • Thyme

Method

At the restaurant we use Sika deer from an estate in Hamsphire. Sika deer originated from Asia and was introduced to England as an ornamental specie before establishing themselves in the wild. Ask your local butcher for a dry aged saddle of Venison. This will consist of two loins and you should get about eight portions off the venison (four per loin). Ask the butcher to take loins off the saddle and break down the bones and keep any meat trim, which you can use for the Venison sauce.

Cooking the venison:

We roast most red meat in beef dripping, which has a high flash point and a meaty flavour. Get your pan hot on the stove and add a tablespoon of beef dripping. Season the venison loin well with salt and pepper. Once the pan is smoking add the venison and carefully colour the loin all around moving the meat regularly. Once evenly coloured add a tablespoon of butter, some crushed garlic cloves and thyme. Let the butter foam and baste the venison with this. Remove the meat from the pan and cook on a trivet in the oven at 140C for around 12-15 mins (medium rare). Take out the oven and leave to rest for 10 mins .

Sauce:

In an oven roast the venison bones until they are evenly caramelised at 160C. Meanwhile in a sauce pan colour the Venison trim in oil and finish with lots of foaming butter. Strain the butter off and and deglaze the pan with some red wine and water. Add the bones and cover with water. Gently cook the stock for 8 hours. Strain and refrigerate. Scrape off any set fat and reserve. Reduce the stock down to sauce consistency and melt some Venison fat into the sauce, which will add a wonderful depth of flavour.

Chestnut and juniper puree:

You can use either cooked chestnuts or fresh chestnuts for the puree. We us fresh and score the chestnut, roasting it in the oven briefly, enabling us to remove the nut quickly and easily. In a wide bottom sauce pan add 3 spoons of sugar and a tablespoon of water. Cook on a high heat and make a light caramel. Once you have the desired colour and chestnuts and 8 crushed juniper berries. Pour 2 tablespoons of Sherry Vinegar to the pan and keep cooking for a minute. This will deglaze and loosen the sugared chestnuts and burn off a little of the acidity from the vinegar. Cover with water and cook the chestnuts for about 30 minutes on a medium heat. Once they are soft, strain and reserve the liquid. Add the chestnuts to a blender pouring back in some of the liquid and adding a tablespoon of butter. Check seasoning and pass the puree through a sieve or chinois to make it silky smooth.

Cime di rapa are the green tops of turnips, which are in peak season now. They bring a lovely mild bitterness to the dish. Simply pick the leaves down and remove any hard stalk. Wash them well and sauté quickly in butter at the last minute.

Ceps are one of my favourite mushrooms and this year has been a fantastic season for them. They have a delicious nutty flavour and rich meaty texture. When they are this good I like to serve them two ways, roasted in lots of salted butter and then thinly sliced raw, for a more delicate note. Be generous with them.

For the soleil figs, wash and cut into 6 pieces, serving three slices per portion. These provide a lovely sweetness and slight acidity to the dish.