Rack of Venison Sous-Vide with Salsify and Pickled Green Cabbage

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Rack of lamb is one of my favorite meats. When I saw a rack of venison, it looked just like a huge rack of lamb and I couldn’t resist buying it. I cooked it sous-vide with sage and served it with a red wine venison reduction, salsify and lightly pickled green cabbage. The meat was amazingly tender and worked very well together with the vegetables. If you don’t have a sous-vide cooker, you could still prepare this recipe by roasting the rack of venison in the oven. The meat will be slightly overcooked towards the edges, but it will still be a great dish. I cooked the salsify in a vegetable stock, which worked very well as it gave them more flavor. The lightly pickled green cabbage provided crunch and didn’t have a strong ‘cabbage’ taste. Here’s what I did…

Ingredients

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For 4 servings

1 rack of venison, 8 ribs

extra virgin olive oil

2 Tbsp minced fresh sage

salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the red wine venison reduction

250 ml (1 cup) homemade venison stock

250 ml (1 cup) red wine

1 Tbsp thyme leaves

1 clove garlic, minced

1 shallot, minced

2 Tbsp butter

For the salsify

500 grams (1.1 lbs) salsify

500 ml (2 cups) homemade vegetable stock

2 Tbsp butter, preferably clarified

salt

For the lightly pickled green cabbage

300 grams (.66 lb) green cabbage

pinch of baking powder

2 Tbsp olive oil

1 clove garlic, minced

1 Tbsp red wine vinegar

chili pepper flakes to taste

salt

Preparation

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Preheat the broiler. Season the rack of venison with salt and freshly ground black pepper and rub with extra virgin olive oil.

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Wrap the bones with aluminum foil to prevent burning them.

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The shape and size of the rack of venison make it difficult to brown it on the stove. Therefore, it is browned under the broiler instead. Broil the meat for about 2 minutes per side. We don’t want to cook the meat, just brown the outside. The meat should be as close to the broiler as possible.

[If not using sous-vide, use an oven at 160ºC/320ºF instead of the broiler. Sprinkle the meat with the sage. Insert the probe of an instant-read thermometer in the center of the meat and cook until it reads 55ºC/131ºF. Allow the meat to rest, wrapped in aluminum foil, for 10 minutes before carving.]

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Once browned, allow the rack of venison to cool. The meat should be at room temperature or even better at refrigerator temperature when it is vacuum sealed, as otherwise too many juices will be sucked out and the juices will boil as well.

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Distribute the sage on the rack of venison and vacuum seal.

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Cook sous-vide for 4 hours at 55ºC/131ºF. This time is needed to pasteurize the meat.

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Salsify usually are sold with a lot of dirt still attached to them.

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Since I thought it would be a good idea to use the peels to make stock (later I found out that was not a good idea at all), I washed them thoroughly under cold running water.

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And this is what the cleaned salsify looked like.

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Peel the salsify and discard the peels. Use gloves because otherwise your hands will be stained. Cut the salsify into 10-15 cm (4-6″) lengths and put them in water with a bit of lemon juice (or Vitamin C powder) to prevent them from discoloring.

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I thought it would be a good idea to cook the salsify in stock made of the peels. The stock however was extremely bitter, so I discarded it and made regular vegetable stock instead.

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Pat the salsify dry. Heat the butter in a frying pan and brown the salsify on all sides to give them additional flavor. This step is easier with clarified butter, as regular butter will burn easily.

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Once the salsify are browned, deglaze with the vegetable stock.

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Bring to a boil.

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Cook, uncovered, until the stock has reduced to a syrup and the salsify are tender, about 20 minutes. Stir now and then towards the end to prevent burning and to coat the salsify with the reduced stock on all sides. Season with salt to taste.

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Cut the tough ribs out of the cabbage.

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Then shred the cabbage.

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Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add a pinch of baking powder to make the water alkaline. This will keep the cabbage a beautiful vibrant green.

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Add the shredded cabbage.

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Parboil for 5 minutes.

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Drain.

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Pat the parboiled cabbage dry with paper towels.

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Heat the olive oil in a frying pan. Add the garlic and sauté gently, making sure not to burn the garlic.

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Add chili flakes to taste.

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Add the cabbage.

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Sauté for a few minutes.

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Add the red wine vinegar and season with salt to taste. Stir to incorporate.

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For the red wine reduction, heat 1 Tbsp of the butter in a saucepan and add the shallot and garlic. Sauté gently for 10 minutes over low heat.

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Add the thyme and sauté for a minute longer.

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Deglaze with the red wine.

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Add the venison stock. Bring to boil, reduce the heat, and allow to simmer until it has reduced to less than 120 ml (1/2 cup).

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Turn off the heat, add the remaining (cold!) butter in flakes and whisk them into the sauce to thicken it. This is called “mounting with butter”.

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Take the rack of venison out of the sous-vide cooker and allow to cool for 10 minutes.

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Brown again under the broiler, using the same procedure as before. This is an optional step, but it helps to serve the meat hot. As it was cooked at only 55ºC/131ºF, it would otherwise cool off quickly.

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Wrap the meat in aluminum foil and allow to rest for 5 minutes.

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Carve the meat into individual cutlets and serve two cutlets per person on warm plates, with the salsify and pickled cabbage.

Wine pairing

The venison and pickled cabbage can handle a powerful spicy red, such as a shiraz/syrah or a montepulciano d’abruzzo.

14 thoughts on “Rack of Venison Sous-Vide with Salsify and Pickled Green Cabbage

  1. I’ve not seen salsify in our stores. I’ll ask at the farmers markets this season. I never know what I’ll find there. Your rack of lamb looks like it was perfectly prepared, Stefan. I get such a sense of accomplishment when I slice into a rack and — hopefully — find it so nicely prepared.

  2. Methinks I would give an arm and a leg to be able to buy a rack of venison of the quality you have there – beautiful meat perfectly prepared! Salsify ~ since I fell in love with it in a country further north than you are and it still oft is on the blogs I read from there – perhaps it actually is a cold weather vegetable? And I remember eating it looking rather like yours!!!

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