WINTER MEANS 'VENISON SEASON'
"Winter calls for steaming stews and hot pots..."
Winter calls for steaming stews and hot pots - rich, juicy, heart-warming combinations to complement the Cape's finest full-bodied red wines. And, especially in Mooi River, many roaring log fires.
I enjoy winter for all these reasons and, as a chef, I get excited when winter approaches because it means it's 'venison season'. Top to toe/hoof is a chef's delight.
You can't get more South African than a spicy venison bobotie. We all know what to do with the top-end cut. Now try something different by taking the tougher but flavoursome sections; mincing them and making a juicy, aromatic venison bobotie. This must be accompanied with apricot 'blatjang' and yellow rice.
A venison consomme/soup with thyme, smoky campfire olives, and hot-roasted goats' cheese makes a savoury/umami combination to awaken anyone's palate.
A venison meat stew/pie - with a crispy, rough puff-pastry hat (on the side) loads of carrots, garlic and rosemary - is an ideal around-the-dining-room-table family meal Memories made around one pot!
When I'm unsure about a piece of meat, I draw the cooking process out as long as possible - even when it comes to good cuts and especially when the meat is very lean. I make a red-wine court bouillon (flavoured liquor or stock). I then pan sear the cut (all sinew removed) in a hot pan with a dash of butter, which is at the stage of releasing nutty aromas. This seared cut gets poached in the red wine court bouillon off of the heat and then is allowed to rest before serving. The result is a flavoursome, juicy piece of venison.
Springbok loin wrapped in a mushroom duxelle and then covered in puff pastry is an exciting dish. It's new-age beef Wellington with venison flair.
So here's to chilly evenings, bubbling hotpots and fun-filled home entertaining.
Supplier's list :
- Places to try Lowland's butchery 033 2631886.
- Another supplier of mine is Bim from Belcom's in Durban 031 5635875.
- I have often seen Ostrich in various shops in KZN, which works beautifully too.
Take these recipes and try them.
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Assisted by Elaine Boshoff for recipe development and photography.