We are enormously fortunate in having a good friend whose family has access to venison but doesn’t like it! We therefore help out when we can! This week we were given a piece of venison – I suspect from a roe deer. It was a very strange looking piece of meat which I wished I had photographed. It looked like a very lean meat wrapped in a number of layers of belly. A little rummaging suggested it may be loin (still with its silver skin intact.) This was indeed wrapped in what I think must have been the whole belly. Now there are a few problems here. Firstly the belly would benefit from a long slow cook. The loin in contrast really needs to be served pink. On top of that before cooking the loin the silver skin needs to be removed. If it is not removed then it will contract when cooked and leave a very chewy piece of meat. While it would have probably been possible to do the whole piece as a slow braise/roast it really wouldn’t have done any of it justice.
There was only one thing for it – the filleting knife was made ready. The 2 loin pieces , what Americans refer to as ‘backstop’ were teased away from the breast meat. This resulted in 2 loins each with a substantial silver skin attached. This is relatively simple to remove and makes such a difference. Slide the filleting knife between the silverskin and the muscle – and then remove the silver skin in exactly the same way as you would fish skin from a fillet of fish. Just keep the blade close to the cutting board. This gave 2 lovely loin joints which just needed a little neatening to finish them. There was then around 500g of belly. The simplest thing to have done would have been to mince it and use it for sausages or burgers. This time however we chose to remove some of the more obvious connective tissues and cut it into chunks to make a simple venison ragù (more later).
Each loin yielded 3 x 150g pieces. So if cooking 2 portions remove a third and save for later. Cooking a single 300g piece is easier to handle in the pan and reduces the waste as the very ends are discarded (chef’s perks) for serving. It can be worth rolling the loin in clingfilm to make a large sausage shape as this gives a nice even shape for cooking and serving. This can be kept in the fridge until needed
We had found some porcini mushrooms in the autumn and had dried these at home. For us porcini are a rare find on a woodland walk so we had dried and preserved every last bit of them! We had kept the ‘neatening trimmings’ that most people discard separate. So we took around 1tbsp of this and ground it into a powder with a pestle and morter. We added the salt we would use for seasoning the loin to the porcini powder. When ready to cook we removed the loin from the fridge. (We tend not to leave it to come to room temperature as we are trying to delay the heating of the core for long enough to colour the outside of the meat). The loin was dusted with the porcini salt mix and rolled until completely covered (the very ends were ignored as these would not be served).
The seasoned venison was then seared in one of our Tefal Ingenio pans heated directly. The trick here is to get the pan hot then add a little oil to moderate the temperature. Once the venison is put in the pan it needs to be left on each side long enough to colour. At which point it needs to be moved around in the pan so that an even browning occurs on all sides. And we are trying to do this without the heat penetrating too far into the meat. When the venison was well coloured (core temperature was less than 40C) we set the BGE back to indirect cooking adding a cold platesetter and closed off the vents. The venison was placed back into the BGE allowing the indirect heat to bring the core temperature up to around 52C. This only took a few minutes. The venison was then rested whilst the vegetables were finished.
The vegetables were plated and the very ends of the venison loin were removed (chef’s perks) and the 300g loin cut into 4 pieces (2 large and 2 smaller).
Removing the very ends allowed the loin to be served vertically. This shows the contrast between the core, cooked medium and pink, and the well coloured exterior surfaces. These were popped into the convenient spaces left for them on the plate. On this occasion we served with charred sticky fennel based on our slow roasted caramelised fennel recipe, sautéed leeks and chard, and pan roasted parsnip.
Finally, we served with a little shallot and redcurrant sauce enriched with the venison cooking juices. Whatever vegetables you chose to serve the venison with…………
…………….. this is a lovely way to cook this beautiful loin!
Porcini seasoned pan roasted loin of venison
A 300g piece of venison loin, seasoned with salted porcini powder and pan roasted
- 300g of prepared venison loin
- 1tbsp porcini mushroom powder
- Olive Oil
- (The gill area of the porcini makes an excellent powder if preparing your own porcini save the gill area for this. Dried porcini can also be blitzed in a spice grinder)
- Step 1 If the silver skin has not been removed from the loin already then remove this. It is relatively simple to remove. Slide a filleting knife between the silver skin and the muscle and remove in the same way as you would remove fish skin from fish.
- Step 2 Wrap the loin in clingfilm and roll it into a sausage shape. Leave in the fridge until ready to use.
- Step 3 Grind the porcini to produce around 1tbs of porcini powder. Add 1tsp of salt and dust the loin with the mix on all sides
- Step 4 Heat the pan on the BGE over direct heat. Once hot add a little oil to moderate the temperature. Add the venison loin to the pan, leave long enough to colour and rotate the loin to give an even colour on all sides. When the venison is well coloured (core temperature will/should be less than 40C) remove from the heat. Add the platesetter to the BGE and close off the vents. Put the venison pan back into the BGE. Allow the indirect heat to bring the core temperature up to around 52C. This only takes a few minutes.
- Step 5 Remove the venison from the pan and rest for at least 10 minutes before serving.
- Step 6 To serve, cut off the very ends of the loins then cut into 4 pieces – 2 large and 2 smaller. Plate the pieces vertically to show the pink cores of the loin uppermost. Serve with vegetable of your choice and perhaps a simple shallot and redcurrant sauce enriched with the venison cooking juices.