I picked up some more roe deer venison, which is still in season in the Netherlands, and created this ‘Italian style’ dish that is not an existing dish that I know of. You could also use regular venison or even veal or beef for this, but venison makes it just that bit more special. You can cook the involtini sous-vide or in the oven.
For 2 generous or 3 normal servings
400 grams (0.9 lbs) fillet of roe deer venison or regular venison
50 grams (2 oz) pancetta, chopped
25 grams (1 oz) dried porcini mushrooms
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 fresh thyme sprigs
2 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves
1 shallot, chopped
125 ml (1/2 cup) red wine
250 ml (1 cup) venison stock or game stock
1 bay leaf
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp freshly grated parmigiano reggiano
Soak the porcini mushrooms in 1/2 cup of hot water for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, ‘butterfly’ the venison. I had three tenderloins (which are indeed small on a roe deer!), but you could just as easily use a larger cut. You could also ask your butcher to do the ‘butterflying’ for you.
Put the venison between two sheets of plastic wrap and pound thin to approximately 4 mm (1/6 inch).
Drain the mushrooms, reserving the soaking water, and dry them with paper towels.
Filter the soaking water with a paper towel to remove any sandy deposits.
Sauté the pancetta with 1 clove garlic and the thyme leaves in a bit of olive oil. Add the mushrooms. Sauté until the mushrooms are cooked and the pancetta is golden. Don’t let the garlic turn brown.
Transfer the mixture to a food processor. Add parmigiano. Process until you obtain a coarse mixture. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and freshly ground black pepper, processing briefly to incorporate the seasoning.
Lay out the thin slice(s) of venison.
Spread out the mushroom mixture, leaving the final 5 cm (2″) or so bare.
Roll up and secure with a toothpick. Rolls like this are called involtini in Italy.
Heat 1 Tbsp butter and 1 Tbsp olive oil and brown the involtini on all sides.
Take the involtini out of the pan and put them on a plate.
Sauté the bay leaf, thyme sprigs, shallot and remaining clove garlic in the same pan for a minute or so.
Deglaze the pan with the red wine, scraping the bottom with a wooden spatula to get all the flavor in the sauce.
Add venison stock and porcini soaking liquid.
Let this simmer over low heat until reduced to about a third.
Meanwhile, cook the involtini sous-vide for 2 hours at 55C/131F or in the oven at 80C/175F to a core temperature of 55C/131F. (Use a hotter oven temperature if you are in a hurry, but this will overcook more of the meat.)
When you are ready to serve, sieve the sauce, bring it to the boiling point, take it off the heat and mount it by beating in small pieces of cold butter.
Serve on warm plates with the sauce, cutting each involtino diagonally for a nice presentation.
Because of the woodsy flavor of the mushrooms and the taste of the venison, this is outstanding with Barolo or Barbaresco. A good red burgundy (1er cru or grand cru) will also do the trick. If you add a bit of port or amarone to the sauce, it’ll also be great with Amarone. The amarone will work well with the sweetness of the pancetta.