A friend who came over for dinner requested I prepare game, so I picked up some nice venison haunch steaks and prepared porcini-crusted venison steak with cabbage and mushrooms. The idea for the porcini crust came from Conor, but of course I couldn’t resist to cook the venison sous-vide. This is a simple preparation that is special enough for a dinner party as the porcini crust is a nice touch and most of us don’t eat venison on a regular basis.
If you don’t have sous-vide equipment, you could also finish the venison in the oven. Use a meat thermometer with a probe and cook to a core temperature of 55ºC/131ºF for medium rare. Here’s what I did…
For 4 servings
4 venison haunch steaks
30 grams (1 oz) dried porcini mushrooms
pinch of baking powder
2 Tbsp clarified butter
1 Tbsp butter
extra virgin olive oil
250 ml (1 cup) full-bodied red wine
1 shallot, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Season the venison steaks with salt and pepper.
Vacuum seal the venison steaks with fresh thyme.
Cut the tough central rib out of the cabbage leaves.
Cut the cabbage into ribbons.
Parboil the cabbage for 3 minutes in boiling water to which you have added a pinch of baking powder. This will give the cabbage a bright green color.
Drain the cabbage and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking.
Grind the dried porcini mushrooms in the food processor.
Use a sieve to separate the ground porcini…
…into a coarse part and fine powder.
I decided to roast the mushrooms in the oven, brushed with olive oil. This was not a terribly great idea as the mushrooms became a bit rubbery.
Cook the venison sous-vide for 2 hours at 53ºC/127ºF.
Take the venison out of the sous-vide pouch, reserving the juices in the pouch. Pat the venison dry with paper towels (needed for browning as moist meat won’t brown).
Coat the venison with extra virgin olive oil.
Dust the oil-coated venison first with the porcini powder…
…and then with the coarse ground porcini.
Quickly brown the venison on all sides in clarified butter over very high heat.
Wrap the browned venison in foil to keep it warm while you finish the sauce.
Next make a red wine sauce. Add the shallots, garlic, bay leaf, and some thyme to the hot pan in which you just browned the venison. Stir for a minute over medium heat.
Deglaze with the red wine, scraping with a wooden spatula to get any browned bits into the sauce.
Also add the juices from the sous-vide bag. Cook over high heat for a couple of minutes or until the wine and juices have reduced to about a third of their original volume.
Sieve the sauce into a saucepan to get rid of the solids, including any coagulated proteins from the bag juices.
Bring the sauce to a boil, then turn off the heat. Add cold butter in small pieces and whisk to thicken the sauce (this is called “mounting with butter”).
Stir-fry the parboiled cabbage in some olive oil. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Finish cooking the mushrooms — next time I will simply pan fry them.
Serve the venison steak with the cabbage, mushrooms, and sauce on preheated plates. I like to serve most of the sauce on the cabbage.
We enjoyed this with a nice Barolo. Another full-bodied red such as a shiraz/syrah, merlot or cabernet would also be nice. The red meat will help with the tannins.
If you don’t like frying in butter because it burns easily and splatters too much, make clarified butter. It is easy to make. It won’t splatter because all the water is gone from it, and it won’t burn because it has a high smoke point. It is perfect to prepare fresh sole. By simply frying it in butter it becomes Sole Meunière. This recipe is remarkably simple, but if you have fresh sole it will also be remarkably delicious!