Steaks from venison backstrap with root-vegetable & prune sauce

Steaks from venison backstrap with root-vegetable & prune sauce Let’s not mince words here; a lot of people are unfamiliar with venison and maybe even hesitant to try it. A majority of people have little or no knowledge of the...

Steaks from venison backstrap with root-vegetable & prune sauce
Steaks from venison backstrap with root-vegetable & prune sauce

Let’s not mince words here; a lot of people are unfamiliar with venison and maybe even hesitant to try it. A majority of people have little or no knowledge of the nutritional and qualitative preferences of this wonderful meat. (See more about venison below the recipe).  Our family wasn’t used to eating venison until about 4 years ago when the family befriended Vladimir, who is a “hunter”. He’s not a professional hunter, but rather a member of the local forestry group that protect wild game, keeping their numbers under control and  dropping off extra food in long , cold winter months.

Every year we receive spontaneous packages of meat; sometimes it is a hare (You’re definitely going to hear about my recipe for hare in cream sauce.  So amazing!  The type of a dish you never want to finish), sometimes it is a wild boar (packages are plentiful with wild boar), and sometimes we are lucky enough to get a deer, a lot of little packages, and then there’s a serious problem fitting it all in the freeze, but it’s fun eating everything to make room for more.

I like to serve steak with root-vegetable & prune sauce when we have guests as it’s not only tasty but appealing to the eye with the yellow, orange and the deep purple sauce which leaves a lot of room for creative plating of the dish.   Make it lovely to see and even lovelier to eat!

Root Vegetables
Root Vegetables

Martina

Ingredients for 5 portions

  • 1 kg venison backstrap
  • 3 bigger carrots
  • 2 parsnips
  • 1 big onion
  • 30 g piece of celery bulb
  • 3 tablespoons of rosehip jam
  • 150 ml cream (10% fat)
  • Sunflower oil
  • Salt
  • Thyme for garnish

Prune sauce: 250 ml Cabernet Sauvignon, 2 handfuls of prunes, 1 tbls. brown sugar

Prunes
Prunes

Dumplings: 500g of potatoes,  200g all-purpose flour, 1 egg, 1 tablespoon of vinegar, ½ tsp. of salt

Preparation

  1. For the root-vegetable sauce peel the carrots, parsnip, celery and onion and cut in cubes or stripes (1 cm max in diameter).
  2. Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a large pan and sauté the vegetables seasoned with salt for about 20 minutes or until completely tender and golden brown (carrot takes the longest time to soften, but it is not a problem if the other veggies get browner as long as they do not get burned).
  3. When tender, put the vegetables in a food processor or use an immersion blender, add the cream and rosehip jam and blend until smooth. Season with additional salt if necessary.
  4. For the prune sauce heat prunes with wine and sugar in a small pot, simmer for about 10 minutes so that alcohol evaporates, liquid reduces and the sauce thickens.
  5. For dumplings the process is similar to gnocchi, cook potatoes in skin. Peel the skin (best when they are still warm so that water evaporates in vapour and less flour will be necessary afterwards, resulting in softer dumplings). Pass the potatoes through a ricer or grate them. Mix in the egg, vinegar, salt and flour and knead lightly until smooth. Form dumplings in a roll shape (about 5 cm in diameter and 10 cm long).
  6. In a large pot bring salted water to the boiling point.  Place the dumplings in the water and cook for about 15-20 minutes stirring every once and a while to prevent sticking to the bottom.
  7. Last step are the steaks. Cut meat in 2 cm thick slices. Season with salt and pepper.

    Venison
    Venison

  8. Heat a pan to the maximum temperature with just a little oil.  Fry steaks in the preheated pan 1-2 minutes on one side, then turn and fry until blood comes to surface (about 2 min). Then transfer to a plate, cover and wrap with aluminium foil.

    Venison Steaks
    Venison Steaks

  9. Serving:Cut dumplings in circles about 1 cm thick. According to your imagination pour both sauces onto a plate, keeping the ratio vegetable to prune about 3 to 1. Finally, cut the steaks in smaller slices or just leave the cutting to your guests, sprinkle with thyme and serve.

Venison

-        origin of the word comes from  the Latin “venor” -  to hunt

A term referring to meat of game animals, usually a deer (in Southern Africa an antelope) but you may also encounter “venison” meaning animals from the family of hares, elks, moose, wild pigs and goats.

If compared with other kinds of meat, it is closest to beef, with its dark red colour.

I guess the reason why many people find game meat unappealing is that the first time they tried the meat, it had been shot during the mating season.  Many hormones are being excreted during this period giving the meat a specific and stong flavour that some find very tasty but other people truly dislike the experience and abandon game meat forever. Personally I do not enjoy that strong taste either; at times reminding me of soap.

-contains just a little fat and cholesterol, and as a result it is usually marinated in oily marinades to moisten and enhance the flavour of the meat.

- is higher in protein than any other type of meat, contains also iron, vitamin B and phosphorus

- keep in mind that venison is in fact a free-range meat, consuming no antibiotics and have large spaces for roaming.