January blues

Peter Walters, Keele University’s Executive Chef, brings us some new year nourishment to beat the January blues

Follow our friends from the north and celebrate January from beginning to end; from Hogmanay to Burns’ Night. What could be more highland than a nice piece of venison? Happy New Year.

Venison Steak with Blueberry Sauce

For 4 persons

  • 4 venison loin steaks
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp soft dark brown sugar
  • Pinch of ground cinnamon, cayenne pepper and paprika
  • Salt and crushed black pepper
  • 100ml vegetable oil
  • 30g butter
  • 250ml stock, game or beef
  • 50ml full-bodied red wine
  • 1 tsp redcurrant jelly
  • 1 tsp pink peppercorns
  • 200g blueberries 

For the sweet potato mash:

  •  800g sweet potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 25g butter
  • 1 lime, juice only
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the greens:
400g purple sprouting broccoli 

1.) Peel and quarter the sweet potatoes and place in a large saucepan, cover with water and bring to the boil. Season with a pinch of salt and simmer for 15 minutes, until the potatoes are soft. 

2.) Drain, return the potatoes to the warm pan, and add 25g of butter, a squeeze of lime juice, salt and freshly ground black pepper.

3.) Mash the potatoes roughly with a fork. Meanwhile, steam the broccoli for a few minutes, until just tender. Set both potatoes and broccoli aside, covered, while you cook the venison.

4.) Mix together the cocoa powder, sugar, cinnamon, cayenne pepper and paprika, salt and black pepper. Dry the venison steaks with some kitchen towel and brush with olive oil. Roll each steak around in the cocoa mixture to coat them on both sides. 

5.) Heat a frying pan with oil and butter and add the venison when the oil starts to sizzle. Cook for 2 minutes on each side for rare, 3 minutes for medium and 4 minutes for well done. Remove the steaks from the pan and set aside to rest while you make the sauce. 

6.)  Using the pan, pour off any excess oil, add the stock, redcurrant jelly, wine and peppercorns and leave to bubble away until the sauce is reduced by half. Taste for seasoning. Stir in the berries at the last minute. 

7.) To serve, slice each steak with a sharp knife into 1cm slices, arrange on warmed plates with the sweet potatoes and broccoli, and pour over the berry sauce.

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