Despite the list of ingredients this is not a difficult dish to make. Get over the Bambi effect, and venison is a great piece of meat. It welcomes the rest after cooking, so it is essential to that it is left for at least ten minutes before carving. It is also at its best medium rare or rare; so if you like your meat on the well done side, save your money and don’t cook venison. This is a great meal, the sweet potatoes along with the earthiness of the beetroot come through really well, and the caramalised flavour of the onions bring it all together. Give it a try, it is all nicely in season just at this moment and well worth the effort. One point, this is a slightly different red wine sauce than appears elsewhere on this blog, because I wanted the taste of thyme running through the dish, and didn’t want the flavour of beef stock masking the delicate venison.
For the red wine sauce
- 400ml/14floz red wine
- 150ml/6floz port
- 300ml/10fl oz chicken stock
- 2 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2tsp sugar
- 50g/2oz salted butter
For the beetroot, shallots and venison
- 4 beetroot
- 1-2tbsp olive oil
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 12 small shallots, peeled and left whole
- 700g/1½lb loin of venison
For the sweet potato mash
- 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
- 1 large Maris Piper potato, peeled and cut into cubes
- 50g/2oz unsalted butter
- Preheat the oven to 180C/360F/Gas 4.
- Red wine sauce: put all the ingredients into a small pan and, bring to the boil, then simmer until the mixture has reduced and has a syrupy consistency (25-30 minutes). Pass it through a fine sieve then put the liquid into a clean pan and whisk in the salted butter until glossy. Set aside.
- For the beetroot and shallots: cut the beetroot into quarters, throw into a shallow tray toss in a little olive oil and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper then roast for about 20 minutes. Add the shallots and roast the lot for a further 10-12 minutes, or until the shallots are softened.
- Heat a large frying pan until its smoking. Brush the venison with olive oil and season generously with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add to the pan and sear for 1-2 minutes on each side, or until golden-brown all over. Don’t mess about with it, it will come away from the pan easily when it is ready.
- Put the venison on top of the shallots and beetroot in the roasting tray and cook for a further 10-12 minutes (medium rare). Remove from the oven and set the venison aside letting it rest for at least ten minutes.
- For the sweet potato mash: add the sweet potato and the single potato to a large pan of boiling salted water. Boil for 5-6 minutes, or until soft, then drain. Add the unsalted butter, season and mash until smooth.
- Carve the venison into four pieces (or several slices) and divide among four serving plates. Reheat the red wine sauce if necessary, then spoon over the venison and around the plate.