Seared loin of venison with celeriac purée & baked plums

This is one of our favourite recipes from The Daylesford Cookery School. Perfect for crisp autumnal days, both warming and packed with seasonal ingredients in their prime.

We especially enjoy lean venison at this time of year, both in our dining room and at home.

All of our venison comes from our sister farm in Staffordshire. They are the first and largest red deer herd to be certified by the Soil Association. The deer are raised on an organic forage-based diet in ancient parkland, maturing slowly and naturally as they would in the wild.

Serves 2

For the baked plums in juniper
8 plums (roughly 400g)
4 bay leaves
2 sticks of cinnamon, halved
12 juniper berries
40g butter (optional)*
40g honey
2 tbsps water

For the Venison:
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds
generous pinch of salt
twist of black pepper
1/2 tsp olive oil
2 venison loin medallions (roughly 160g each)

For the celeriac:
1/2 a medium celeriac, peeled and roughly chopped
vegetable stock to cover
2 sprigs thyme, leaves only
15g butter
generous pinch of salt
twist of black pepper

To make the baked plums with juniper pre-heat the oven to 180°C.
Halve the plums and remove the stones.
Transfer to a medium sized pan and add the other ingredients.
Put a lid on the pan and bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes or until the plums are just soft.
Transfer to a bowl, cover and store in the fridge before warming through when ready to use.
*Tip 1: If you would prefer to omit the butter, simply add a little more water instead.
Tip 2: Spoon the juices through rich gravy for a little sweetness and colour.

For the venison, toast the coriander and fennel seeds in a pan over a medium heat until just beginning to smoke. Transfer to a pestle and mortar and grind to a coarse texture with the salt and pepper. Add the olive oil and stir together to make a fragrant paste. Divide the spices between the loins of venison and smother until evenly covered. Set aside.

For the celeriac, put the celeriac into a pan and cover with the vegetable stock. Simmer over a medium heat until softened. Strain through a colander, being sure to reserve the liquid. Put the celeriac into a high- speed blender with the thyme, butter, salt and pepper and blitz until smooth, adding a little of the reserved water to loosen the purée. Return to the pan and adjust the seasoning as necessary.

Place an oven-proof pan over a high heat with 1 tbsp of olive oil. When hot, turn the temperature down, add the venison loins and sear briefly on both sides. Transfer the pan to the oven and roast for 4-5 minutes before transferring the venison to a board to rest for at least 10-15 minutes.
Deglaze the pan over a medium heat with 4-5 tablespoons of the jus from the plums and a little butter. Divide the celeriac purée between two warm plates, slice each of the venison medallions and arrange over the top with 3-4 of the halved plums and a drizzle of the warmed plum jus.

Serve with a large bowlful of wilted seasonal greens.

 

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