Venison steaks with cranberry sauce and celeriac puree

I love venison, especially in winter and this year I decided to try as many ways of preparing it as I can find. I think steaks are the best way, though I am partial to venison sausages with red wine (used to get them at the Kingsland Edwardian butchers in Portobello Road).

This recipe is a combined one. The venison steaks with the cranberry sauce are a Delia recipe, the celeriac puree is from BBC food site.


Venison steaks and cranberry sauce

For the steaks
2 venison steaks (about 14 oz/400 g total weight)
1 tablespoon groundnut or other flavourless oil
2 level teaspoons crushed peppercorns
2 medium shallots, finely chopped
salt

For the sauce
2 rounded tablespoons cranberry sauce
zest and juice ½ orange
zest and juice ½ small lemon
1 rounded teaspoon freshly grated root ginger (about 1 inch/2.5 cm cube, after peeling)
1 level teaspoon mustard powder
3 tablespoons port

If you want to, you can make the sauce way ahead of time (even several days). Take off the outer zest of half the orange and the lemon using a potato peeler, then with a sharp knife shred it into really fine strips, about ½ inch (1cm) long.

Then place the cranberry sauce, ginger and mustard in a saucepan, add the squeezed orange and lemon juice, and place over a medium heat. Now bring it up to simmering point, whisking well to combine everything together, then as soon as it begins to simmer turn the heat off, stir in the port and then pour it into a jug to keep till needed.

When you’re ready to cook the steaks, heat the oil in a medium-sized, thick-based frying pan. Dry the steaks thoroughly with kitchen paper, then press the crushed peppercorns firmly over both sides of the steaks. When the oil is smoking hot, drop the steaks into the pan and let them cook for 5 minutes on each side for medium (4 minutes for rare and 6 minutes for well done).

Halfway through, add the shallots and move them around the pan to cook and brown at the edges. Then 30 seconds before the end of the cooking time pour the sauce in – not over, but around the steaks. Let it bubble for about 20 seconds, season with salt, and then serve the steaks with the sauce poured over.

Celeriac puree

700g/9oz celeriac
70g/2oz unsalted butter
70ml/2fl oz double cream or 100ml milk
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp ground cumin
pinch of nutmeg
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Cook the celeriac in boiling water for 20-25 minutes, if you want, add 2 medium sized potatoes. Drain well and blend all of the ingredients either in a food processor or a hand blender (I use the latter). Season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper and blend to a purée.

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Red cabbage

This has very Chrismassy flavours and so I usually make this cabbage for Christmas dinner. Following this year, I decided to add it as a regular side dish to roast duck whenever I make it.

Ingredients:
1 large cabbage, halved and cut into 2cm strips
3 medium cooking apples, peeled, cored and diced
3 tbs molasses sugar
the juice from 3 oranges
cider winegar (or 2/3 white vinegar + 1/3 apples juice)
10 juniper berries crushed
the peel of two oranges stripped with a potato peeler
1/2 tsp mixed spice (my addition to the original recipe)

Add the olive oil to a large, heavy-bottomed pan (I used 28cm Le Creuset casserole pot), then layer the ingredients, starting with a third of the cabbage, then a spoonful of sugar, the juice of an organge, a splosh of vinegar and a few juniper berries, sprinkle bit of mixed spice. Season. Repeat the layers twice more, bring up to a simmer very gently, then cover with a tight-fitting lid. Stir after about an hour, then again after another hour. Add more orange juice if the liquid level looks too low. Blanch the strips of peel, then cut into 1cm pieces. Stir through the cooked cabage and serve.