Pan-roasted loin of venison with braised greens, spiced fig tart and Port wine jus

Over a quarter of people we surveyed want to cook game at Christmas time but do not have the confidence to do so, so here is our recipe for pan-roasted loin of venison with braised greens, spiced fig tart and Port wine jus recipe from our game cookery course:

Ingredients to serve 6

6 pieces trimmed loin of venison, 175g-225g each

Salt and pepper

Tablespoon vegetable oil

1kg cavalo nero

Knob of butter

For the jus

50g finely chopped shallots

A few black peppercorns

3 or 4 juniper berries

Bay leaf

Splash red wine vinegar

250ml strong game stock (or beef consommé)

250ml ruby port

Red currant jellyA little cornflour mixed with water

For the fig tarts

1 pkt ready made puff pastry

10 figs, halved lengthways

ButterFlour for dusting

1 beaten egg

Black pepper

Tablespoon soft brown sugar

Method for the jus

1. Put the chopped shallots, peppercorns, juniper berries and bay leaf in a saucepan and pour over the red wine vinegar.

2. Bring to the boil and allow to reduce right down

3. Add the Port and reduce by a half before adding the consommé

4. Reduce again by a third

5. Thicken with a little corn flour dissolved in water and whisk in the red currant jelly

6. Strain through a fine sieve

7. Reheat and whisk in a good knob of butter before serving.

For the Cavalo Nero

1. Wash the cavalo nero and remove and discard the thicker stalks.

2. Douse in boiling salted water and allow to wilt for a minute or two.

3. Drain off the liquid and keep warm

4. Finish by tossing in melted butter until heated through.

5. Season to taste.

For the fig tarts

1. Roll out the pastry to a thickness of about a pound coin and cut into rectangles of approx. 100x70mm each. Place then on a baking tray covered with baking paper and prick lightly with a fork. Chill.

2. Lightly dust the cut side of the figs in flour and fry in a little oil, cut side down until golden brown. Remove from the pan and allow to cool.

3. Brush the pastry rectangles with beaten and arrange two fig halves, cut side up and top to tail on each.

4. Dot with butter, sprinkle with brown sugar and black pepper.

5. Bake in the oven at 180°C for approximately 15 minutes until the pastries are risen and golden and the figs tender.

For the venison

1. Rub the venison loin with vegetable oil and season with salt and pepper.

2. Heat a pan (with ovenproof handle) and sear the meat well on all sides.

3. Transfer to the oven at 180°C and roast for 8 minutes for medium rare, 12 minutes for medium (just pink in the centre) and 20 minutes for bien cuit.

To serve

1. Place a little cooked Cavalo Nero to one side of the warmed serving plate and top with slices of the venison.

2. Place a fig tart alongside and dress the dish with the sauce as desired 

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