Daniel Clifford’s Slow-Cooked Venison Saddle


Daniel Clifford’s slow-cooked venison saddle is sumptuous and served with individual suet puddings filled with red wine sauce. Nicely flattered by the sharp choucroute and a silky, sweet carrot purée, it’s perfect for a slow-cooked autumnal dish.

For the venison saddle:
• Venison saddle, 4 pieces each weighing 125g

For the carrot purée:
• 200g of carrots, chopped
• 50g of butter
• 50ml of water

For the choucroute:
• 1/2 white cabbage, sliced
• 1 onion, chopped
• 1 garlic clove, chopped
• 1 sprig of fresh thyme
• 1 bay leaf
• 2 peppercorns
• 1 juniper berry
• 1.5l white wine
• 25g of smoked bacon

For the suet pastry:
• 265g of self-raising flour
• 35g of suet
• salt
• 50ml of water

For the venison pudding:
• 350g of diced venison shoulder
• 100g of onion, diced
• 100g of carrots, diced
• 150ml of red wine
• 1 tbsp of fresh thyme, chopped
• 1g of xanthan gum
• Worcestershire sauce to taste
• salt
• pepper

To plate:
• 150g of Brussels sprout leaves
• 10g of butter

1 First make the carrot purée. Melt the butter, add the chopped carrots and cook for 5 minutes, then add the water and cook for 15 minutes until soft.
2 Blend in a food processor and pass through a sieve, then set aside until ready to serve.
3 To make the choucroute, sweat the chopped onion and garlic, then add the sliced cabbage and cook for 5 minutes.
4 Combine the herbs, place in the centre of a piece of muslin cloth, fold together and secure with untied thread.
5 Add this bouquet garni, the wine and bacon to the cabbage mixture and cook for 3 hours on a low heat, covered with a cartouche. Stir regularly.
6 Preheat the oven to 65°C/Gas mark 1/4. Add the diced venison, onion, carrot, red wine, thyme and a pinch of salt to a casserole dish, add enough water to cover and cook in the oven for 8 hours.
7 In a bowl, combine the flour, suet, a pinch of salt and water until a smooth paste is achieved, then leave to rest for 3 hours before rolling out.
8 Once rested, roll out the suet pastry to the thickness of a pound coin. Using pastry cutters, cut out 4 circles using a 100mm cutter and 4 using a 60mm cutter, then set aside until needed.
9 Once the venison and pudding filling has cooked, chill the mixture then separate the meat and sauce into 2 separate bowls.
10 Warm the sauce slightly and add 1g of xanthan gum per 100ml of sauce in order to thicken the gravy. Once thickened, remove from the heat and allow to cool.
11 Season with Worcestershire sauce and pepper and add back to the meat, reserving 4 tablespoons of sauce for plating.
12 Line the dariole moulds with cling film twice, then add the 100mm rounds of suet pastry to line the moulds.
13 Spoon the diced venison mix on top. Cover with the 60mm disc, then fold over and seal around the edges.
14 Double wrap the the moulds with cling film. Cook in a steamer at 70°C for 25 minutes.
15 Once all the other components of the dish are complete, preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas mark 4. Brown the venison saddle in a hot pan with a little oil for 1 minute per side.
16 Transfer to the oven, turning every 2 minutes for 8 minutes for a medium rare result.
17 Slice the venison saddle. Use a spoon to place and sweep the carrot purée across each plate.
18 Place the choucroute separately onto the plate, arrange the sliced venison on top, then place the pudding next to the other components.
19 Blanche the sprout leaves in boiling water for 1 minute and drain well. Reheat in butter before plating.
20 Serve the choucroute and pudding with the sautéed sprout leaves and reserved venison sauce.

Recipe courtesy of Daniel Clifford, first published on GreatBritishChefs.com

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