Black garlic-marinated haunch of venison, creamed black cabbage with toasted pine nuts, black cherry and red wine sauce and roasted wild mushrooms
The concept of combining black garlic with black cherry and black cabbage came to me in a lucid dream during a nap one afternoon. Bizarrely I was dreaming about food. My subconscious had already put some of the ingredients there at the start of the dream but my conscious mind began to formulate the dish and that's where the trio of black ingredients came in. The flavour combinations really work and I urge you try this. As always, the quality of flavours is in the ingredients - superb venison from the Cairngorms, dry-aged for 21 days, supplied by the great guys at Farmison. The black cherry sauce would also go equally well with duck.
To prepare the venison:
Using a pestle and mortar, crush the black garlic cloves with
the sea salt to a paste then mix with light rapeseed oil and
freshly ground black pepper.
Coat the venison haunch steaks equally with the black paste
making sure each steak is evenly coated.
Put the steaks in a glass or ceramic bowl covered with cling
film or in a sealed plastic container and marinate for at least
four hours, preferably overnight.
Before you cook the venison, remove from the fridge and allow
the meat to come to room temperature.
To make the sauce:
Place the sugar and red wine vinegar in a saucepan over a
medium heat and simmer stirring until the sugar has completely
dissolved and the liquid has evaporated.
Add the red wine, black cherries and sprig of thyme and bring
to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until reduced by half.
Sieve through a chinois into a clean pan pressing the black
cherries to extract their juices.
Bring the sauce to a boil and reduce by a third.Taste the sauce
and season with a pinch of sea salt if necessary. The sauce should
be of a pouring consistency. If it thickens too much whisk in a
little boiling water to thin it down.
For the creamed black cabbage:
Put the crème fraîche and the cheese in a saucepan along with
the thinly sliced cavolo nero and cook for about 2 to 3 minutes
until the cavolo nero has wilted and the sauce has thickened.
Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Stir
in half of the toasted pine nuts and save the rest to garnish the
To roast the wild mushrooms:
Pre-heat the oven to 180°C (gas mark 4). Place a sheet of
non-stick baking parchment on a roasting tray. Remove any dirt from
the mushrooms using a brush then scatter them on top of the baking
parchment. Dot the mushrooms with small pieces of the whey cream
butter and drizzle with walnut oil. Scatter the lemon thyme leaves
over the mushrooms then season with sea salt and freshly ground
black pepper. Roast for ten minutes.
To cook the venison:
Pan-fry the venison steaks for about four minutes, two minutes
on each side in light rapeseed oil making sure each steak is evenly
browned on all sides. Transfer the venison to a roasting tray and
finish in the oven at 180°C (gas mark 4) for two minutes. Remove
from the oven and let the meat rest for a few minutes before
slicing into 1cm thick pieces.
Place a bed of the creamed black cabbage on the middle of the
plate, place slices of the venison on top of the cabbage surrounded
by the roasted wild mushrooms. Drizzle some of the sauce around the
plate and garnish with the remaining pine nuts.