Venison and Blackberries
I try, every week at least, to treat myself to the pleasure of cooking for its own sake. Prepping everything as I would do for service, revelling in the knowledge that there isn’t going to be one- with no imminent docket stuttering out another order. No angry overcompensating chefs, no fickle public. Just me and my kitchen.
- Venison steak (200-300g)
- 5 new potatoes, peeled.
- 1/4 romanesco florets
- 1 shallot
- 3-4 chestnut mushrooms
- 3 cloves of garlic (smashed) 4 sprigs of thyme, 2 sprigs of rosemary
- hazelnuts, with husks
- 100g unsalted butter
- flake sea salt and pepper
- 2-3 blackberries
Remove the venison from the fridge 1 hour before cooking.
Halve the hazelnuts and toast in a dry pan over medium heat. Keep them moving until nicely burnished. Set aside. Slice the blackberries in half.
Boil the potatoes in a suitable pan of salted water, until you can stick a knife in them with little resistance. At the same time, add a thumbs’ worth of butter in a pan on medium heat until it foams, add a dash of oil, slice the shallot lengthways, skin on and place face down and lower the heat. Cook for 7-8 mins, turning every minute. Keep warm in a low oven. Place the potatoes in a food processor with a third of your butter and blitz until smooth, then season to taste. Set aside as you can warm this up later.
Bring a pan up to medium-high heat, add a dash of oil. When it shimmers, add your vension. Sear it on all sides. On the largest surface area, sear for 45 seconds, whilst on the edges, 15 seconds, until the whole piece in nicely browned. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add half your remaining butter, herbs and garlic. Bruise the herbs into the butter along with the garlic until you can smell them all then here comes the best bit – take a spoon and baste your venison with the butter. Once the garlic is browned all over, place it on top of the venison with the herbs so they now don’t burn. Turn the steak once more, so you’ve cooked it for a maximum of 2 mins a side. Take the steak out of the pan and place on a board, uncovered and let rest for 5-7 mins.
With the pan juices, sautee your mushrooms until golden brown. Once cooked, keep warm with the shallot. Put your plate in the oven now, to warm it up. In a small pan, melt and brown your butter on a medium-low heat.
In a pan or salted water, add the romanesco for about 2-3 mins or until vibrant. Drain.
Take your warm plate and spoon on a generous mound of potato, then with the spoon, push down and toward to in one motion, to create a shooting star effect. Slice the venison diagonally and stand pink side up in the widest part of the potato and lean the shallots up against the meat. Cluster the romanseco around the meat, dot the mushrooms across the plate and scatter the hazelnuts and blackberries accordingly.
Spoon the brown around, being sure to land a majority of it on the steak itself and add a pinch of salt and pepper.