Venison and Chocolate Sauce.

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Serves 4
Method: 

Venison used to be kept only for the aristocracy. It was reward for their fine hunting expeditions along with all the game birds they could also kill. Venison is an incredibly lean meat. It's hard to find a part of it that carries fat. You should be able to find all types of the animal as if it were beef. It has the highest iron content of any meat, this predominant flavour has to be balanced with the rest of the dish and a top red. Luckily, the rules of the aristocracy don't apply and in the interests of fairness and sustainability, venison is now farmed and there are strict laws governing the shooting of game. The Glorious 12th( August) is the first day of the year that Grouse are allowed to be killed. 1st September-Partridge, 1st October-Pheasant. This year there is going to be a National Eat Game month in November. We will be doing our bit with a different recipe each week, paired perfectly with Evines' best wines from Charles Lawrence. Until then, I have got in early with, unfortunately, the first wintry dish of the year. In the north I believe summer came and went about April/May time. Luckily for a gastronome like myself, this is by far the best time of year.

You may find the combination or idea of a chocolate sauce ludicrous. It's obviously not one for ice cream, rather a very fruity redcurrant and port affair that is tainted by only a teaspoon of very bitter dark chocolate. It imparts an unctuous feel to the sauce and the roundness needed to balance the rich tasting meat.

  1. Wrap the steaks in parma ham, well seasoned with black pepper. Set the oven to 90°c. If they are individual steaks, heat for 45mins. If you have one large rump it will take about 1hr to 1hr15. Check the temperature of the meat reaches 60°c. This will be medium-rare/medium. Alternatively, cook for 3 mins per side on a really hot griddle. Leave to rest for 5mins.(If cooking this way leave this stage until everything else is cooked.)
  2. Brown the onion in a pan, deglaze with the port, reduce until sticky. Add the red wine and reduce by 2/3s. Add the beef stock and the jam. Reduce until half original volume. Remove the onion, check for seasoning, it may need black pepper, add the chocolate. You should be able to smell the chocolate with hint of it on tasting. Don't be tempted to add any more as it will quickly overpower the sauce.
  3. Grate the potatoes into a tea-towel. Ring out all of the moisture. Add the melted butter and some seasoning. Divide into four 9cm chefs rings. Steal some oil from the stage below, and brown all the rostis for 4mins a side over a medium heat. Add to the oven with the venison. They won't overcook or burn, they will dry out a little, but ensure the centre of the rostis are cooked.
  4. Cube the celeriac, add to a pan and cover with oil. Add the garlic and thyme. Bring to a low boil, cubes should just sizzle. Cook for 10mins until soft. Remove and drain on kitchen paper.
  5. For the carrots, boil until soft. Add to aprocessor and blitz with the cream until smooth. Season, add a knob of butter if you like.
  6. Finally, I put the chestnuts into the pan from the rostis. Heat through with some good sea salt and pepper.

 

Ingredients: 
  • Venison Steaks/Rumps 4x250g
  • 8 Slices Parma Ham
  • 2 Large Baking Potatoes
  • 20g Melted Butter
  • 1 Celeriac
  • Oil to cover
  • 2 Sprigs Thyme
  • 2 Cloves Garlic
  • 4 Carrots
  • 100ml Cream
  • Chestnuts
  • Onion
  • 500ml Beef Stock
  • 200ml Port
  • 200ml Red WIne
  • 1 Tbsp Redcurrant Jam
  • 1 Tsp Pure Cocao 100% Solids