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