Venison loin, pear, spruce

4
3 hours

Ingredients

Venison

  • 500g of venison loin, ideally from a fallow deer
  • Maldon salt
  • vegetable oil

Cep purée

  • 500g of frozen ceps, defrosted, drained and finely sliced
  • 4 shallots, finely sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, finely sliced
  • 1 knob of butter
  • 1 sprig of thyme
  • 100ml of white chicken stock

Spruce crumble

  • 20g of spruce needles, dried and ground into powder
  • 65g of ground almonds
  • 60g of chestnut flour
  • 70g of butter, melted
  • 40g of sugar
  • 4g of salt
  • 10g of cep powder

Spruce vinegar

  • 100g of spruce tips
  • 400g of cider vinegar

Roasted pear

  • 1 pear
  • 1 knob of butter
  • 1 tbsp of maple syrup

Elderberry ketchup

  • 500g of elderberries
  • 100g of sugar
  • 75ml of sherry vinegar
  • 15g of agar agar

Venison sauce

  • 750g of venison bones
  • 250g of butter
  • 3 shallots, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 sprig of thyme
  • 6 juniper berries, crushed
  • 200ml of white wine
  • 1l white chicken stock
  • 1l brown chicken stock

Hen of the woods

  • 1 hen-of-the-woods
  • 1 knob of butter
  • Maldon salt

Garnish

  • 1 pear, finely sliced
  • 1 sprig of thyme, leaves picked
  • Maldon salt

Method

1
Combine the cider vinegar with the fresh spruce tips and leave the vinegar for a year to infuse. Alternatively, you could try sourcing some ready-made spruce vinegar, or experiment with other types of vinegar. You will only need a little vinegar to dress the slices of pear before serving
  • 100g of spruce tips
  • 400g of cider vinegar
2
When you're ready to make the dish, start with the venison sauce. Preheat an oven to 180ºC/gas mark 4 and place the venison bones in a baking dish with a knob of the butter. Roast for 15 minutes, adding another knob of butter every few minutes, until the bones are nicely roasted and golden brown. Remove one-third of the bones from the pan at this point and reserve in the fridge for later
  • 250g of butter
  • 750g of venison bones
3
Add the sliced shallots, garlic, thyme and juniper to the roasting bones. Continue to cook until the mixture is nicely caramelised, then pass through a sieve to remove the butter
  • 3 shallots, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 sprig of thyme
  • 6 juniper berries, crushed
4
Place the roasted bones and aromatics in a large saucepan. Add the white wine and reduce by half over a medium-high heat, then add both chicken stocks and leave to simmer for an hour and a half
  • 200ml of white wine
  • 1l white chicken stock
  • 1l brown chicken stock
5
To make the cep purée, sweat the shallots and garlic in a pan with the thyme and butter, then add the ceps and cook until the liquid in the mushrooms has evaporated
  • 1 knob of butter
  • 4 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
  • 1 sprig of thyme
  • 500g of frozen ceps, defrosted, drained and thinly sliced
6
Remove the thyme and blend the mixture with enough of the white chicken stock to make a smooth, thick cep purée. Season and reserve until ready to plate
  • 100ml of white chicken stock
7
Preheat the oven to 115ºC/gas mark 1/2. Combine all the ingredients for the spruce crumble and spread across a Silpat mat on a large baking tray. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the mixture is golden brown, then set aside
  • 20g of spruce needles, dried and ground into powder
  • 60g of chestnut flour
  • 70g of butter, melted
  • 65g of ground almonds
  • 40g of sugar
  • 4g of salt
  • 10g of cep powder
8
Blend all of the ingredients for the elderberry ketchup until smooth, then transfer to a pan and bring to the boil for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow the mixture to set in the fridge, then blend again until you have a smooth ketchup. Reserve in a squeezy bottle until ready to plate
  • 500g of elderberries
  • 100g of sugar
  • 75ml of sherry vinegar
  • 15g of agar agar
9
Now go back and finish the sauce. Add the reserved venison bones to the sauce, remove from the heat and leave to infuse for 30 minutes. Pass the sauce through a muslin cloth and keep warm until ready to serve
10
To make the roasted pear, cut the pear into quarters and peel into 4 even barrel shapes. Colour in a pan with a knob of foaming butter, then add the maple syrup and cook until the pears are caramelised and golden. Reserve and keep warm until ready to plate
  • 1 pear
  • 1 knob of butter
  • 1 tbsp of maple syrup
11
Preheat the oven to 180ºC/gas mark 4. To roast the venison loin, season with Maldon salt and colour it in a hot pan in a splash of oil (it only need 10 seconds just to sear the edges). Finish by roasting in the oven for 5-6 minutes, then rest for 5-10 minutes
  • 500g of venison loin, ideally from a fallow deer
  • Maldon salt
  • vegetable oil
12
Roast the hen-of-the-woods mushroom in a knob of butter until tender – keep basting the foaming butter over the mushroom, then remove from the pan and drain. Slice into 4 pieces and season. While the mushroom cooks, gently reheat the cep purée
  • 1 hen-of-the-woods
  • 1 knob of butter
  • Maldon salt
13
Now it's time to assemble the dish. Place a piece of hen-of-the-woods mushroom on each plate and cover with some of the spruce crumble
14
Dip the sliced pear in the spruce vinegar and arrange on top of the hen-of-the-woods mushroom
  • 1 pear, finely sliced
15
Squeeze some of the elderberry ketchup and cep purée onto the plate, along with the roasted pear. Garnish the pear with a few thyme leaves
  • 1 sprig of thyme, leaves picked
16
Slice the venison and share among the plates, with a pinch of Maldon salt on each piece. Finish with the venison sauce
  • Maldon salt