FALLOW DEER, CELERIAC, PRUNE, CHOCOLATE
For me, game season in the UK is a really special time of year to be celebrated, and wild deer is one of my favourite meats. Cooking with deer is a pure joy – the meat is so flavourful and only needs a simple garnish to showcase its quality.
Ingredients SERVES 4
Deer sauce deer saddle bones, chopped rapeseed oil deer saddle trimmings veal stock
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
2 banana shallots, peeled and chopped
2 sticks celery, chopped 1 sprig of thyme
2 bay leaves
1 tsp black peppercorns 1 tsp yellow mustard seeds 1 star anise
4 juniper berries
100ml sherry vinegar 300ml red wine
100g unsalted butter table salt, for seasoning 750ml double cream 4 sticks celery, juiced Brandy-soaked prunes 200ml water
1 tsp black tea
6 black peppercorns ½ vanilla pod, scraped 1 strip lemon peel
1 strip orange peel brandy to taste
6 pitted prunes
1 quarter fallow deer loin brown butter, melted, at room temperature (enough to brush the deer loin with) table salt, for seasoning fresh juniper branches Maldon sea salt
100% bitter chocolate
For the deer sauce, place the chopped bones into a roasting tray and dress with a little rapeseed oil. Roast at 170°C/325°f/gas mark 3 for 20 to 30 minutes until browned.
In a large heavy-based pan add a little oil and gently caramelise any deer trim. Remove from the pan and strain in a colander. Add the vegetables to the pan and colour all over until browned. Remove from the pan and add the aromats. Gently toast to release the flavour and aroma.
Deglaze with sherry vinegar, reduce slightly and then add the red wine. Reduce this by half, add the port, and reduce further by half. Add the trimmings, thyme, bay leaf and roasted bones to the pan and cover with the veal stock. Simmer for 4 hours, strain through a sieve and reduce until thickened, glossy and deep in flavour.
For the celeriac purée, peel the celeriac and dice to 2cm to 3cm cubes. This will allow it to cook evenly. Add the butter to the pan and melt until gently foaming, then add the celeriac and a pinch of salt and soften slightly, without colouring, for 10 to 15 minutes.
Cover the celeriac with the cream and gently cook making sure it doesn’t boil. When the celeriac is soft and cooked, blend until silky smooth. Adjust the seasoning then pass through a sieve into a bowl set over another bowl of ice to cool rapidly and retain flavour. Once the celeriac has cooled, finish with a splash of celery juice to freshen the flavour.
For the brandy-soaked prunes, add the water to a pan and bring to the boil. Add the tea and leave to infuse for 10 minutes. Strain through a sieve and add the remaining ingredients apart from the prunes. Infuse for 10 to 15 minutes. Add the prunes to the pan and gently cook on a very low heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Reserve at room temperature off the heat to infuse for 1 hour or so. Season to taste with more brandy.
For the deer loin, ensure the meat is at room temperature before cooking: this will ensure it cooks evenly. Brush the loin with brown butter and season with table salt. Place a mesh grill rack directly over hot coals on a barbecue and colour the meat all over, making sure you don’t scorch it.
Raise the rack slightly above the coals and place a metal bowl over the top of the meat on the rack. Place the juniper branches on the coals to burn and create smoke, making sure it goes into the bowl for optimum flavour. Leave to smoke for a few minutes and then, leaving the bowl over the meat, rest in a warm place.
To serve, place a spoon of celeriac purée in the middle of the plate, and nestle a warm soaked prune in the middle of the purée. Carve the meat and season with Maldon sea salt. Place on top of the prune. Dress the meat with the deer sauce and, using a fine grater, grate the chocolate over the top to finish.
Taken from Glorious Game: Recipes from 101 chefs and food writers, compiled by Ben Tish