Pepper crusted venison steaks with celeriac and red onion mash
Venison is very lean so the prime cuts need quick, fast cooking to be enjoyed at their best. This version of pepper steak is a good way to introduce newcomers to the meat – it should be meltingly tender and full of flavour.
1 tspfive pepper blend, coarsely ground
2venison steaks, about 125g each
4 tspolive oil
100mlbeef or game stock
2 sprigsfresh thyme
2 tbspjuniper jelly
For the celeriac and red onion mash:
1 mediumred onion, quartered
1 tbspred wine vinegar
1 tbspdark muscovado sugar
1 smallceleriac, peeled and cubed
1 largepotato, peeled and cubed
1 large knob of butter
salt and freshly ground black pepper</li>
Make the mash first. Preheat the oven to 220C/fan oven 200C/gas mark 7.
Place the onion in a small pan and sprinkle with the sugar and vinegar. Cook in the oven for 15-20 mins until caramelised.
Meanwhile cook the celeriac and potato in boiling water for 15-20 mins until tender. Drain thoroughly. Return to the pan and mash until smooth. Beat in the butter, onion and seasoning. Keep warm.
Press the crushed pepper onto both sides of the steaks. Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan and cook the steaks on both sides for 4-6 mins for rare, 8-10 mins for medium and 10-12 mins for well done. Remove from the pan and leave to stand in a warm place for the juices to settle.
Add the wine and stock to the pan, together with the thyme, and simmer for 5 mins until reduced by half.
Whisk in the jelly and simmer till syrupy. Season. Arrange a bed of steamed purple sprouting broccoli on two serving plates. Arrange the steaks on top and spoon over the sauce. Serve with the celeriac mash.
Cook's tip: I use Ouse Valley Foods Juniper Jelly for this dish or my own elderberry and apple jelly but you can substitute redcurrant jelly.