Venison Wellington

The butcher (Don Hayes in Staple Hill) had venison loin last weekend and I just had to buy some. I love venison but it isn’t a meat that I eat very often, mainly because it isn’t always easily available.

I had two pieces of loin and wanted to cook something that looked impressive as well as doing the meat justice. I decided on cooking it en croute, wrapped in puff pastry and stuffed with a duxelles mixture, otherwise known as venison Wellington. For this, you need the following;

2 pieces of venison loin, about half a kilo in weight, trimmed of any membrane
100g chestnut mushrooms
1 large banana shallot
fresh parsley and tarragon
butter
two small small glasses of white wine
prosciutto crudo
salt and pepper
puff pastry (I used bought)
1 egg yolk
1 glass of port
quince jelly
a small amount of light stock (chicken or veal)
red wine vinegar

First I made the duxelles stuffing. For this, you finely chop the shallot and mushrooms and sauté them in butter, adding finely chopped parsley and tarragon, salt and pepper and then one glass of the white wine. You cook this out until the mixture is dry and set it aside.

Next, using some more butter, season the venison and sear the outside, but do not cook it through. You need the meat to remain very rare. Set aside to cool and deglaze the pan with the other glass of white wine. Add in the stock and the port, stirring and allowing it to boil. Then add the quince jelly and keep stirring until it is melted. Taste and add some red wine vinegar. This will offset the sweetness of the quince. Pour off into a jug and set aside.

Now assemble the dish.

First, lay out the slices of prosciutto and put one piece of loin across them. Then spoon over the duxelles (you might not need all of it) and put the other piece of loin on top.

Next, carefully roll up the prosciutto to form a tight sausage shape.

Finally, lay out the pastry and place the meat on top and roll this into a neat parcel.

This can be placed on a buttered non-stick baking tray and glazed with beaten egg yolk and refrigerated until it is time to cook it.

The Wellington needs to be baked in a pre-heated oven at 180C for about 25 minutes, so that the pastry is cooked but not so long as the meat is overdone. The meat needs to stay rare.

While it is cooking, you need to reduce the sauce in a saucepan, so that it is thickened but not jammy.

I served this in slices with some spinach wilted in butter and a simple potato gratin.

To drink, we had a bottle of L’instant Truffier Malbec 2012 Rigal, PGI Côtes du Lot from Majestic, a wine made in the same region as Cahors and from the same grape, the Malbec (also known in the region as Côt or Auxerrois). This is a big wine, not as deep as actual Cahors, but rich and flavoursome, with good tannins.

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