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Venison with port poached pear

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We’re getting all autumnal with James Nathan of St Enodoc Hotel in Rock. Try his recipe for venison with port poached pear, red cabbage, baby beetroot, glazed salsify and potato fondant for an edible experience that’ll leave you seasonally satisfied

Venison with port poached pear

Serves 4

You will need

For the venison:
Oil 1 tbsp
Orange, ½, zest
Venison steaks 4, 140g each
Salt to season
Oil for frying

For the port poached pears:
Cooking port 350ml
Sugar 50g
Red wine vinegar 100ml
Red wine 350ml
Pears 2, peeled

For the red cabbage:
Oil for frying
Red cabbage ½, thinly sliced
Redcurrant jelly 2 tbsp
Soft brown sugar 1 tbsp
Cinnamon powder ¼ tsp
Red wine 100ml
Red wine vinegar 100ml
Orange juice 100ml
Water as required

For the glazed salsify:
Salsify roots 2
Orange juice 200ml
Butter 25g

For the beetroot:
Baby beetroot 4
Thyme 1 sprig
Garlic 1 clove
Red wine vinegar 100ml
Sugar 1 tbsp

For the beetroot dust:
Beetroot bulb 1, large

For the potato fondant:
Potatoes 4
Butter 50g
Chicken stock 300ml
Thyme 1 sprig, to garnish
Garlic 1 clove

James says, ‘The pears and port reduction, red cabbage, salsify, baby beetroot and beetroot dust can all be made well in advance and then reheated whilst you cook the fondant potato and venison. This is a recipe that I have been developing over the years. It was one of my dishes from the MasterChef finals, so it’s an old friend!’


  1. Put the oil and orange zest into a bowl and combine. Put the venison into the mix and rub well. Infuse for 2 – 12 hours.
  2. For the pears: Mix the port, sugar, vinegar and red wine together, then bring to the boil. Cut the pears in half and scoop out the core using a melon baller. Add to the liquid and simmer very gently for about 20 minutes until the pears are just tender, remove with a slotted spoon. Reduce the cooking liquid to a light syrup and put to one side.
  3. For the red cabbage: Gently fry the red cabbage in oil with a good pinch of salt for about 4 minutes. Add redcurrant jelly, sugar and cinnamon, then cook until the redcurrant jelly is melted. Add the red wine, vinegar and orange juice, and bring to a simmer. Cook gently for about 1 ½ hours until soft, adding water if it dries out too quickly. When most of the liquid has evaporated, carefully pour into a blender and blend to a puree.
  4. For the glazed salsify: Peel the salsify and put immediately into a pan with the orange juice, butter and salt. Gently simmer for about 8 minutes until tender. Remove with a slotted spoon, reduce the cooking liquid to a syrup. Return the salsify to the pan and coat in the syrup.
  5. For the beetroot: Make a small envelope of foil and fill with all the ingredients, making sure the foil is not leaking. Put the foil package on a tray and roast for about 45 minutes at 180°C. Remove and check they are tender.
  6. For the beetroot dust: Finely slice the beetroot and lay on a tray. Set the oven on its lowest setting and leave until the beetroot is bone dry. Blitz in a small blender or pound in a pestle and mortar to a dust. This will keep for weeks in an airtight container and can be made well in advance.
  7. For the fondant potatoes: Peel the potatoes and, using a pastry cutter, cut four circles approximately 7cm wide by 4cm high from each potato. Heat a pan and melt the butter over a medium – high heat, then carefully add the potato, seasoning with salt. Colour on one side, then turn over and pour in enough stock to come halfway up the side of the potato discs. Add the thyme and garlic and put in the oven for 25 minutes. Remove when tender and keep warm.
  8. For the venison: Preheat the oven to 200°C. Heat a pan over a high heat and add some oil for frying, then sear the meat for 30 seconds on each side and season with salt. Put into the oven for 2 minutes, then rest for 4 minutes before carving and serving with the pear, cabbage, beetroot, salsify and potato.

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