The closest link between the people that make wine and the people that drink it
The game season is one of the real joys of the food calendar, and although farmed venison is available all year round, it’s the wild animals that have such a fantastic flavour. Venison with chocolate sauce has become a bit of a classic; it’s a combination that works really well although it does have its pitfalls. Make sure you only use dark chocolate with a high cocoa content and remember you only need a small amount to have the desired effect. The cabbage and sauce can be made the day before and reheated when required.
300g venison loin trimmed- reserve any bones and trimming for the sauce
2tsp black peppercorns
1tsp star anise
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Place the spices in the oven for 5 minutes to toast and then blend in a spice grinder or pestle and mortar into a coarse powder. Cut venison into two pieces. Dust each part well and season with salt.
Heat a frying fan over a medium heat. Add a splash of olive oil and seal the venison well on all sides. Once you have a nice colour add the butter and as it starts to foam baste the venison well then place in the oven and cook for 10-12 minutes, turning and basting frequently. Remove from the pan and set aside to rest. Keep warm.
To serve, place a pile of braised red cabbage in the centre of each plate and carve the venison on top. Pour the sauce over and around; this is great with some roasted parsnips and brussel sprouts.
200g venison bones, chopped
½ onion, roughly chopped
1 carrot, roughly chopped
1 stick celery, roughly chopped
½ head garlic
6 juniper berries
1 sprig thyme
1 bay leaf
200ml red wine
200ml veal stock
200ml chicken stock
10g plain chocolate, minimum 70% cocoa solid
To make the venison jus, roast any venison bones in the oven until nicely browned. Heat a heavy-bottomed pan, add 2tbsp olive oil, fry the vegetables, garlic and herbs until well browned. Add the juniper and wine and reduce to about 50ml.
Next, add the veal jus and chicken stock, bring to the boil and skim and simmer for 35-40 minutes. For the last 25 minutes of cooking, add the roasted venison bones to impart some venison flavour. When finished, pass through a fine sieve and reduce to the correct consistency. Season to taste and just before serving bring the sauce back to the boil and grate in a little of the chocolate, taste and add more chocolate if necessary.
Braised Red Cabbage
½ small red cabbage, shredded
1/2 red onion, shredded
1/2 orange, zest and juice
5 black peppercorns
1 whole star anise
1 cinnamon stick
50g demerara sugar
50g redcurrant jelly
50ml red wine vinegar
187ml red wine
Preheat the oven to 150°C. Combine the peppercorns, cloves and star anise in a piece of muslin and secure with string. In a large casserole dish that can go in the oven, heat a splash of olive oil and sweat the onion and red cabbage then add the sugar and vinegar. Boil until they start to go syrupy then add the wine, orange juice, zest, cinnamon and muslin bags of spices. Bring to the boil, cover with a lid and braise in the oven for 2-3 hours, or until the cabbage is soft. Discard the muslin bag, cinnamon stick and orange zest. If at this point the cabbage is a bit wet, drain the liquid off and reduce to a coating consistency. Stir back in and add the redcurrant jelly, keep warm or chill if making in advance.
For more recipes like this, join Berrys’ Wine Club and you’ll have access to a bank of Stewart’s delicious recipes with accompanying wines to match.