Food absolutely amazes me, I am in my kitchen every day yet there are still so many different ingredients that I have never had the pleasure to cook with, and until now venison was one of them. It is not one of those meats you see that widely available, but it was on offer in Tesco and therefore I had no excuse not to try it. I was in the mood to be creative and cook something a bit fancy and every element of this dish was delicious, in fact I recon I would have been satisfied simply with a bowl of the butternut squash puree. So if you are feeling fancy and want to treat someone (or yourself) to a meal that is a little bit special then give this a whirl, you won’t be disappointed 😀
For the squash puree
– ½ butternut squash – left whole and seeds scooped out
– 30g butter – cubed
– Salt and pepper
For the Beetroot
– 6 precooked baby beetroots – halved
– Olive oil
For the Sauce
– Sprig thyme
– Sprig Rosemary
– 1 red onion – finely sliced
– 1 stalk celery, finely chopped
– 1 pint Chicken Stock
– 250ml port
– ½ chilli
– 20g Dark Chocolate
– 1 carrot – peeled and cut in half lengthways
– Venison trimmings
– 2 venison shoulder steaks – fat trimmed
For the spinach
– 1 clove garlic
– Nob butter
– 2 large handfuls spinach
Oven to 200’C
Rub the butternut squash in a little olive oil and roast for ½ hour until soft
Remove the squash from the skin and mash lightly with the butter
Season well with salt and pepper and then blend until smooth. This can be re-heated just before eating if you wanted to make this in advance.
The baby beets will also take about half an hour to roast, in a separate pan to butternut squash and tossed in a little olive oil
To make the sauce, fry the trimmings and the onion in a little olive until browned and the add the sloe gin and simmer until it has reduced right down.
Add the chicken stock, along with the vegetables and herbs and simmer until the stock has reduced by at least half. This could take about half an hour. Strain the vegetables and then stir the chocolate into the sauce until melted.
Rub the venison with salt and pepper and fry the venison in a hot pan with a splash of olive oil until brown on all sides. It will probably need about 6-8 minutes depending on the size of the steaks and how you like them cooked, turn regularly and they test by the feel of the steak. You want the steak to feel like the squashy bit of your hand underneath the thumb; when you touch the tip of your thumb with your first finger the feel is rare, the thumb on the little finger is well done so the other fingers indicate all in-between.
Once the venison is cooked remove from the pan, cover and leave to rest for 5 minutes before serving.
To make the spinach, fry the garlic in the butter until it has turned golden. Add the spinach and coat well. Once this has wilted it is ready to serve. It should only take a minute and so.