Venison fillet, Madeira and juniper sauce with blackberry pickle

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Venison fillet, Madeira and juniper sauce with blackberry pickle

Ingredients

Serves 6

For venison fillet:
6 x 175g pieces of venison fillet
Olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cloves garlic
Sprig of thyme
40g butter

For juniper sauce:
100ml Madeira
500ml good quality chicken and veal stock
3 - 4 tsp juniper berries
15g unsalted butter, chilled and cubed – optional
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the pickled blackberries:
100ml muscatel or chardonnay vinegar
50-60g caster sugar
30ml water
200g fresh blackberries, halved

Instructions

For the Pickled Blackberries

  1. Mix the vinegar, sugar and water in a bowl, taste and adjust the sweetness to taste
  2. Add the blackberries, stir gently and leave to macerate for a minimum of 30 minutes.

For the sauce:

  1. Place the Madeira into a small pan and reduce by 1/3 in volume over a medium heat, then add the chicken and veal stock and the juniper berries. Simmer the sauce to reduce it which will concentrate the flavour, allow it to thicken a little and to cook the berries until tender. This will take about 10 minutes, depending on the size of the pan you use
  2. The sauce should be syrupy in consistency and have a deep flavour. Taste the sauce and if it is too thin and weak, continue to reduce it until stronger and syrupy. If it is too strong, add a little water.

To cook the venison steak:

  1. Pre-heat an oven to 180˚C/gas mark 4. Allow the steaks to come up to room temperature for 20-30mins before cooking.
  2. Place a frying pan over a medium to high heat and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Season the venison fillets with salt. Do this in two batches depending on the size of your frying pan.
  3. Brown the venison on all sides. Add the garlic, thyme and butter to the pan and baste the venison with the melted butter. When browned, remove the venison, butter and aromatics to a baking tray and place into the oven to finish cooking. This will take about 8–10 minutes depending on thickness. Baste the venison with the juices half way through the cooking time
  4. Venison can be served medium rare. When it is cooked, remove from the oven and allow the venison to rest lightly covered on a board for at least 3 to 4 minutes.
  5. To finish the sauce, bring to a simmer and whisk in a knob of cold butter. This will enrich and thicken the sauce slightly and will give it a good shine. Taste and adjust the seasoning to taste.
  6. To serve, carve the venison and serve garnished with the pickled blackberries, the Pommes Anna, sprouts and sprout tops. Spoon a little of the sauce around the venison. Serve additional sauce and pickled blackberries on the table.

For cooking in advance:

The blackberries can be pickled several hours in advance and the jus can be made 1 day in advance or even frozen.

Author: Leiths Teachers Created for Wildflower Magazine

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