Sunday, June 21, 2015

Seared Venison with Braised Red Cabbage, Pancetta Crisps & Red Wine Jus


I can't help but feel compelled to begin each blog post these days with an apology for the lack of updates. Most nights I'd try to sit in front of the laptop to write up new post but often just  end up giving in because of how tired I felt at the time. I'm quite the social media fanatic so would be great if you got connected with me on my Instagram (@winceeee) and Facebook page (The Hungry Excavator) too!

It's such a lame and overused excuse but work really has been quite busy for me. I guess in many ways I feel like I've reached a milestone in my career sooner than I expected and it's definitely kept my plate full but at the same time, fuelled me to want to keep going even further/harder. It's because of the pressing nature of my work that makes me so grateful to have a blog or blogging related activities to look forward to after I clock off to unwind. Anyway, I've got lots of recipes lined up in my backlog that I can't wait to share with you guys so please stay tuned.

Righto, back to the recipe. A friend of mine went hunting one weekend and managed to shoot two deers that time. I haven't been hunting myself but I do know that deers are not easy to hunt at all. Most of the time, people would come back empty handed so for him to have shot not one, but two deers was very impressive.

I was definitely happy for my friend because it was his first time successfully hunting one down but if I'm being honest, I was even happier about the fact that he shared them with me too! I feel very grateful when people think of me and specifically share their food with me (maybe because I think people know that I always appreciate it). I heart people!

As soon as I got these beautiful venison backstraps, I flipped through an old cookbook I got from a good friend a few years ago for my 21st in search of some inspiration. Came across a couple in there that looked really good so decided to combine and modify them a bit to suit my liking. The final result was very delicious. I don't normally cook many recipes like these but it's actually quite simple and at the end of the day, it's always great to try something different in the kitchen. Every element actually worked and enhanced the other so I am definitely a fan of this combination. 

This plate of food was definitely delicious to eat and actually very simple to make. There's lots of things you could substitute the venison backstrap for if you haven't got it available. I think veal or lamb backstraps would work beautifully too or even liver instead of meat too! Something that's lean or quick to sear.

Hope you give this a go and that you have a fantastic week ahead!

So difficult to not sneak a piece... Or five as soon as they came out of the oven (!!)

Seared Venison with Braised Red Cabbage, Pancetta Crisps & Red Wine Jus

(recipe adapted from the cookbook "Must Eat" by Russell Blaikie)

Click here to print the recipe


For the braised cabbage:
1/4 red cabbage
4 tbsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic (minced)
1 brown onion (chopped finely)
150ml red wine vinegar
150g sugar
Cracked salt and pepper

For the red wine jus:
125ml red wine
50ml port wine
1 litre beef stock
50g unsalted butter
Cracked salt and pepper

200g venison backstrap (cut to thin strips) *
12 slices pancetta
Olive oil
Fresh sage leaves
Cracked salt and pepper
60g unsalted butter

* may be substituted with veal, lamb or even liver instead of backstrap


For the braised cabbage:
1. Remove the core of the cabbage and slice it finely. Heat up the oil in a pot. Add the garlic and onions and cook until soft and fragrant. 

2. Add the vinegar and sugar, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Add in the cabbage and place the lid on to simmer on low heat for 25 - 30 minutes (or until cabbage is tender), stirring occasionally.

3. Season with cracked salt and pepper and cook with the lid off for a further 15 minutes or until most of the liquid has evaporated. Set aside until ready for use. Can be stored in refrigerator for 3 to 4 days.

For the red wine jus:
1. Pour the red wine and port into a saucepan and reduce on high heat until about 60ml or quarter of a cup liquid left.

2. Add the beef stock and boil on high heat (and skimming regularly) until the sauce has reduced to about three quarters of the volume left. Stock should be a little thick, viscous and glossy.

3. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter until well combined. Season with cracked salt and pepper to taste.

For the remainder of the dish:
1. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Line the pancetta slices on a wire rack and bake in the oven for 8 - 10 minutes or until  the pancetta is golden brown and crisp. Remove and allow to cool to room temperature on the wire rack. Refrain with every ounce of your being from nibbling away on these lip smackingly good pancetta crisps. 

2. Heat a little olive oil in a pan until hot and add in the fresh sage leaves to cook for about 10 - 15 seconds or until crisp. Remove and drain excess oil on kitchen towel.

3. Season the venison/veal/lamb backstrap on both sides with cracked salt and pepper. Heat the pan with a little more olive oil until hot. Place the backstrap into the pan and sear or cook for about 30 seconds per side (depending on thickness of cut). The meat should still have a little blood still when slicing into it (you don't want it overcooked).

4. Add the butter into the pan and allow it to foam and brown slightly. Coat the backstraps in the butter and remove from heat.

5. To serve, place the braised red cabbage on a plate and the seared meat on top. Scatter with crisp sage leaves and top with pancetta crisps. Drizzle some red wine jus around the plate. Enjoy.

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