Wild venison steak with chanterelles and pink peppercorn sauce
- 2 x wild Scottish venison haunch steaks
- 1 tbsp oil
- 30g wild mushrooms (chanterelle if possible)
- flaked sea salt
- 2 tbsp pink peppercorns
- 200ml double cream
- 1 drop lemon juice
Pink peppercorns are not just a pretty ingredient with a certain retro charm, although used well they can add life and colour to the plate. Not a peppercorn as such, these little pink spheres have a slightly hot, almost sweet, character and bring a little texture into play too; you would think they actually came into existence with venison in mind. The meat of wild Scotch roe deer is mild yet full of flavour. Should you be new to venison, this is a great way to try it; familiar enough to stay well within steak territory, yet with a slight twist on flavour that suits the wild meat perfectly. If you can't get chanterelles, use any mushroom available or simply leave them out.
1. First, you must bring your steak to room temperature. Why? Because when a cold steak hits a hot pan it will lower the temperature of the pan and you will end up with tough steak. Also, with a cold steak the heat will take longer to penetrate and therefore cook less evenly. Thirdly, too cold to too hot will cause the muscle fibres to bunch up in shock and be far less tender on the palate. Steak cookery 101; it's all in the detail.
2. Rub the teaspoon of oil into the steak, on both sides. Heat a heavy, preferably cast iron, pan over a high heat. Venison needs to be rare to medium; no more. Somewhere in the middle is best and these steaks take roughly 2 minutes on each side.
3. When the pan is hot (use a flat hand hovering above to judge) add a good pinch of salt to the centre and add the steak. Don't move it, push it, or prod it. Just leave it there to do its thing. When 2 minutes are up, turn it over. Give it another 2 minutes and remove the pan from the heat.
4. Transfer the steaks to warm plates and, with the pan still over the heat, add the rest of the oil with the mushrooms. Stir for one minute, add the pink peppercrons, stir for another 30 seconds and add the cream. Add a drop of lemon juice and the sauce will thicken up.
5. Pour the sauce over the steaks and eat immediately. Preferably with a leafy salad and some chunky chips.