This is a dish for a special lunch or dinner. It takes attention and careful preparation but the results are worth it. Accompanied by the fondant potatoes, braised red cabbage, acorn squash puree and redcurrant sauce it is completely delicious. Serves four.
For the venison loin
200g venison loin per person
Salt and pepper
For fondant potato
4 potatoes weighing 200 to 300g
225g unsalted butter
150ml chicken stock
For the braised red cabbage
75g butter, plus extra to serve
1 red onion, finely chopped
1 cinnamon stick
¼ tsp ground cloves
¼ ground nutmeg
1 red cabbage, cored and cut into irregular chunks
1 apple finely chopped
3 tsp muscovado sugar
100ml freshly squeezed orange juice
125ml balsamic vinegar
2 tsp cranberry sauce
For the squash purée
2 tsp olive oil
1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped
1 acorn/honey bear squash, peeled and roughly chopped
75ml chicken stock
75ml double cream
For the redcurrant sauce
250ml fruity red wine
3 tsp redcurrant jelly
1 tsp Dijon mustard
- Cut the potatoes using an oval-shaped cookie cutter. Turn them on their side and slice the top and bottom, leaving them flat. Remove any skin. Heat the butter in a heavy-based frying pan until foaming, add potatoes and brown on one side. Turn them over and add the chicken stock and herbs and cook until soft all the way through.
- For the braised red cabbage, melt the butter in a large pan over a medium heat and add the onion. Soften in the butter for a few minutes, stir in the spices and cook for one minute. Tip in the cabbage and sauté until shiny and well coated.
- Add the apple, sugar, orange juice and vinegar, reduce the heat to low, stir well, cover and cook for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure it doesn’t stick. Stir in the cranberry sauce and cook for another 25 minutes. Season well and stir through a knob of butter before serving.
- To make the squash purée, heat the oil and butter in a large pan and gently fry the onion for a few minutes until softened. Add the squash and roast for 5 minutes. Pour in the stock and simmer gently for a further 10 to 12 minutes until tender. Pour in the cream and season to taste. In a food processor, blend the squash until smooth and pass through a sieve into a clean pan.
- To serve, season the venison with salt and pepper, heat a heavy-based frying pan then add some oil and butter. When the butter is foaming, add the venison and cook on a medium to high heat for 3 to 4 minutes a side until browned. Once cooked, put to one side and allow to rest.
- Gently heat the purée and red cabbage while the meat is resting. Pour a little of the wine into the pan used for the venison and, over a low heat, scrape up any sticky residue left by the meat with a wooden spoon, stirring to incorporate. Add the rest of the wine and simmer for 5 minutes, or until reduced by half. Reduce the heat to low and stir in the redcurrant jelly until it melts, then stir in the mustard. Pour the sauce into a serving boat.
- Remove the fondant potato from the cooking liquor and, once the meat has finished resting, serve with the potato, squash purée, red cabbage and sauce.
This recipe is by Ian Hamilton, head chef at The Three Cups Inn on Stockbridge High Street. This delightful coaching inn dates back to the 15th century and provides delicious food to match.