Venison Wellington, just in time for Christmas!
venison loin - shitake mushrooms - garlic - shallots - oregano - dried fruit - cherry brandy - nutmeg - prosciutto - mustard - puff pastry - egg
This is the perfect winter treat, using seasonal produce and festive ingredients, so we decided to make it for our Christmas supper, and think you should give it a go too...
Start with good quality venison loin fillet, we got ours from George Bower in Stockbridge. When deciding how much to buy, imagine an inch and a half along the loin per person. The meat will shrink a little during cooking and result in an inch width per person upon serving.
Start by making your mushroom mix - finely chop a punnet of shitake (we used a food processor), then fry off a couple of shallots in butter with 2 gloves of garlic. Once softened, add your diced mushrooms with a handful of finely chopped oregano and a bag of dried fruit, such as cranberries and cherries. Let the mushrooms soften and cook slightly, before adding a large glass of cherry brandy, and a little bit of water. You need to allow the brandy and water to completely evaporate, or fear a soggy bottom. Once the fluid is gone and the mushrooms start to brown add a good pinch of nutmeg and season to taste. Let the mixture cool completely.
Whilst it is cooling, fry off the venison loin. Use a very hot oiled pan and season the meat with plenty of pepper and a little bit of salt. Fry off on each side for approximately 2 minutes, and allow to rest.
Once all the elements are cold you can put the wellington together - first roll out some puff pastry, remembering that the thicker it is, the more likely you are to have raw pastry at the end. Lay 6 sheets of prosciutto ham on to the puff, then a thick layer of your festive mushroom mix. Brush the loin with some English mustard and place on to the mix. Roll the venison tightly in to the pastry, seal with beaten egg, and then leave to chill in the fridge for at least an hour to firm up.
Once chilled, brush the pastry with more beaten egg and cook at 200c/gas mark 7 for 25-30 minutes (longer if you think ours is a wee bit too rare). Leave to rest for another 25 - 30 minutes after cooking, and then cut in to slices - or bring to the table whole, for a nail biting unveiling!
We served ours with parsnip and truffle oil mash, roasted brussels sprout and Jerusalem artichokes, steamed tenderstem, and a light blackcurrant and chicken stock sauce.