As a result, ever since then I had fancied trying to experiment with cooking venison, and by good fortune I received an email from the pr for Farmer's Choice asking if I wanted to try their products....automatically I thought 'Venison' and shortly after received two lovely packs of Venison haunch steaks. I didn't have the foggiest what to do with it, and whilst the Wellington idea was pretty tempting I am ashamedly a Wellington virgin and also wanted to initially try cooking it fairly simply, to gauge its quality, flavour etc.
After deciding to keep with simple idea for the Venison, I wanted to serve something complimentary alongside, and after a little scheming in my brain VS cupboards/ fridge contents I thought I would go down the earthy route by trying to combine peal barley, and beetroot....
Now I wasn't entirely sure what to call the barley thingy, and tried googling a variety of names and their definitions from Tian's to Ragout's but then I remembered making a risotto of sorts with barley, and after a check it is indeed called an Orzotto. Even now I am not happy, as in my head I conisder both pearl barley and beetroot as fairly English staples and the word Orzotto just sounds a bit flairy Italian style, which its not.. If anyone has a better name, please do let me know!
2x Venison Haunch steaks
1 tbsp rapeseed oil
Black pepper grinder
1 tbsp rapeseed oil
100g pearl barley, soaked in water for a couple of hours and rinsed
1 stick celery, finely chopped
1 medium carrot, finely chopped
1 knorr rich beef stock pot into 700ml boiling water
50ml red wine
130g cooked beetroot (vac pack is fine) cut into 1/2 cm chunks
1 tsp dried thyme
Knob of butter
Glug of port
Start by taking out the steaks out of the fridge (ensure they are thawed if frozen!) to come to room temperature
1) In a large saute pan, heat the oil and gently fry the carrot and celery for approx 5 minutes or until softening, stir in the barley and red wine, allow the alcohol to cook off then cover with the stock and add the thyme, cover the pan and simmer gently for about an hour, or until the liquid has absorbed and the barley is almost cooked through, stir in the beetroot.
2) Rub the Venison steaks with a the oil and a generous sprinkle of freshly ground black pepper. Pre-heat a griddle till smoking hot, then carefully place both steaks into the pan. Cooking time will depend on how rare you like your meat - for me about 4 minutes each side came out medium rare, which was perfect. My steaks were very thick so you might need to adjust accordingly!
3) When the steaks are cooked to your liking, keep warm in foil and add the butter to the still hot griddle, stir in the port, allow to reduce slightly, scraping up any juices from the pan, if necessary transfer into a small pan to keep warm if it is reducing too much.
4) Now I decided to be fancy and served the orzotto via my chef rings but feel free to plate up as you desire. Serve the steaks alongside and pour over your finishing sauce.
Lighting conditions in my flat are appalling in winter and this picture doesn't do it any justice but it gives you an idea at least!
Many thanks to Farmer's Choice for the Venison. It was really tasty, the meat had a great texture and flavour, and it was not dry at all like people had warned me! My orzotto was rich and flavoursome and went really well with the Venison, complimenting its meaty flavour but without overpowering.