A simple combination of flavours, where the distinctive notes of the venison are allowed to shine.
The meat on a venison haunch is lean, tender and rich, making it perfectly suited to cutting into steaks. Medium rare is ideal. As is a garnish of carrots glazed in stock and butter — the natural sweetness in the carrots is a pleasing counterpoint to the rich, ever so slightly iron-y nature of the venison.
On top of this, the green peppercorn and thyme butter plays a superb role as a supporting cast member, contributing layers and nuance to the occasion.
Venison haunch steak w/ glazed carrots, green peppercorn & thyme butter
- For the butter
1 pack of salted butter
½ a banana shallot, very finely diced
good quality white wine vinegar, Moscatel or similar
3 tsp of green peppercorns in brine, crushed with the side of a knife
8 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves picked from the stalks
- For the glazed carrots
600g heritage carrots, washed and trimmed (if needed)
250ml of dry cider
3 sprigs of fresh thyme
2 fresh bay leaves
2 garlic cloves
4 juniper berries, crushed
75g salted butter
- For the butter:
- Add two-thirds of the butter to a bowl and allow to soften to room temperature.
- Place the diced shallot into a bowl and drizzle over about 1 tablespoon of vinegar. Leave to sit for 10 minutes.
- Once the butter is soft, take a wooden spoon and beat it for a couple of minutes. Then drain the shallots from the vinegar and add them to the butter along with the green peppercorns, picked thyme, a good grind of black pepper, plus a pinch of salt. Mix together well and check for seasoning, adjusting if necessary.
- Lay your clingfilm flat on a table and then roll up the butter into a sausage and place in the fridge to firm up.
- Once chilled, slice into discs, about half a centimetre thick.
- For the carrots:
- Find a large, shallow, heavy-bottomed pan and set it over a high heat. Add all the ingredients and season lightly with salt. Bring to a simmer and then turn the heat down and cover the pan with either a cartouche or lid. Cook like this for about 7-8 minutes, agitating the pan occasionally.
- Remove the lid and allow the cooking liquid to reduce. As it does, the butter and stock will begin to emulsify and glaze the carrots. Keep the pan moving around and keep spooning the glossy liquid over the carrots until beautifully shiny and glazed.
- Check the seasoning and adjust as necessary — a splash of vinegar may be nice. If at any point they need loosening, add a splash more stock or water.
- To cook the venison:
- Remove the steaks from the fridge at least an hour before you intend to cook them.
- Season the steaks well with salt and black pepper.
- Set a heavy-bottomed frying pan or cast-iron skillet over a medium heat with a little olive oil. Once the oil begins to smoke, carefully lay the steaks in the pan. Cook on one side for 1 minute and then flip and cook on the other for 1 minute.
- Turn the heat down and add a couple of knobs of butter. As the butter foams, baste the steaks generously, while also frequently flipping. Cook like this for 2-3 minutes.
- Remove the steaks from the pan and leave to rest, with two discs of butter on each steak, for at least 5 minutes, somewhere warm.
Carve the steaks and plate next to the carrots, then drizzle over any butter that has melted.