Craig Shelton:

Cervena Loin of Venison with Smoked Beets, Clove Gelée and Black Pepper

Yield: 4 servings

Smoked Beets

8 ounces beets
2 teaspoons blended olive oil, sea salt and black pepper

Clove Gelée

1 cup spring water
cup granulated sugar
cup cloves
1 grams agar agar powder
1 Tablespoon granulated sugar

Black Pepper Gastrique Sauce

1 cup Game Sauce, made with venison bones and fortified with venison scraps
2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 Tablespoon black pepper, coarsely chopped by hand


1 venison haunch, boned
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
2 teaspoons shallot, minced, sel-gris, Brittany sea salt to taste
Blended olive oil, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Swiss Chard in Cauliflower Cream

1 pound Swiss chard, center ribs removed
2 teaspoons blended olive oil
1 Tablespoon Vegetable Garbure, see recipe, for braising Swiss chard
4 ounces cauliflower florets, cooked until tender in boiling salted water
2 ounces heavy cream

Heat an oven to 350°F. Roast scrubbed beets in their jackets, lightly tossed with olive oil and seasoned with the salt and pepper in a deep-sided roasting pan to which has been added just enough water to keep the juices from scorching the pan. Roast until tender, approximately 1 hour. When beets are cool enough to pick up, slip them out of their skins. Skins should be removed while still warm.

In the meantime prepare a smoker. Light hardwood chips such as hickory, apple or rosewood until ashen. Slice beds lengthwise into -inch thick slices and place beets in smoke for 5 minutes. Bisect beet slices. Two half wedges are a portion.

For Clove Gelée, combine water, sugar and cloves in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Cover and let steep until it reaches desired intensity. Strain out whole cloves. Add agar agar and return to boil. Transfer to a rectangular or square container. Let it set at room temperature. When ready, slice into julienne.

For Black Pepper Gastrique, heat the game stock and the venison scraps together in a small saucepan. Reduce slowly over low heat. Stir in the coarse pepper and red wine vinegar to taste.

To sauté venison medallions, slice the meat away from the connective tissue and thigh bones such that each muscle group can be identified, as each will cook at different rates. Portion into 1-ounce medallions. Serve 2 to 3 medallions per portion. Wick off any moisture with a towel, season both sides with salt and pepper. Dust lightly with Wondra flour. Heat a heavy iron skillet to high, add a light coating of blended oil and quickly sear medallions, turning from side to side after only a few seconds to produce even coloration. Add butter, shallots, season with sel-gris. Remove from heat. Rest.

For braised Swiss chard in cauliflower cream, bring salted water to a boil for the cauliflower. Add cauliflower and cook until tender. Drain. Place cooked, drained cauliflower in a blender with the heavy cream and puree until smooth. Check the seasoning. Strain through a fine sieve. For the chard, heat a sauté pan over medium heat. Add blended oil. When hot, add Swiss chard, cover and let wilt. Add Vegetable Garbure and braise until liquid evaporates. Bind the Swiss chard with the cauliflower cream. Season lightly with salt and pepper lo taste. Heat to serve.

To serve, place 12 tablespoons of the Swiss chard in cauliflower cream in the center of a warmed plate. Stagger 2-3 medallions of venison over cauliflower. Place a cube of roasted smoked beet to the right. Place 4 ribbons of Clove Gelée in 2 cross patterns over the venison. Draw a diagonal of Black Pepper Gastrique from the center to upper left corner and down from the center to the lower right corner.

Game Sauce

Yield: 4 servings or 3 cups of sauce

5 pounds wild game bones (duck, squab and pheasant), cut up into 1-inch pieces
1 whole Spanish onions, diced
1 carrots, large dice
3 cloves garlic, unpeeled
2 whole shallots, peeled, large dice
1 Tablespoons coriander seeds, toasted, crushed
700 milliliters Burgundy red wine, or about 3 cups Merlot or other full bodied red wine
Salad oil or peanut oil

Color duck bones in 1 tablespoon of oil over moderate heat, in a stainless steel sauce pot. Reduce the red wine by one half, with 1 bouquet garni sachet. Add the vegetables to the bones and color them as well. Moisten with the veal stock and reduced wine and cook 2 hours at bare simmer, skimming well. Remove from heat and allow to rest 20 minutes, then pass through sieve, twice. Do not press. Repeat process with new bones if more strength is needed. Do not boil during reduction.

Meat Fortification for Game Sauce

The final rendition in transforming base stocks to plate sauces. For venison, add venison trimmings, for game foul, add pigeon or other wild game foul trimmings

Yield: 8 servings

1 cup Game Sauce
Venison trimmings, add Game Sauce
1 teaspoon each of carrot, onions and celery, minced
teaspoon tomato paste, best quality


1 small saucepan

Pan-roast meat scraps by heating the bones and/or trimmings on flat top in 1 quart saucepan. Caramelize. When all edges are caramelized, add 1 tablespoon standard mirepoix (onions, carrots and celery) and sweat. Add tomato paste, let it cook in and darken (pincée). Keep draining off the fat from the pan. Add the Game Sauce to the pan. Serve hot.

Vegetable Garbure

Yield: 4 servings

Cut the following ingredients into 1-inch dice:

whole Spanish onion
5/8 carrot
1/16 white turnip
1/8 parsnip
1/8 zucchini
fresh tomato
1/3 stalk celery
ounce mushroom stems and pieces
1/8 head garlic
stalk lemon grass
1/16 apple
1/8 orange
3/8 ounce fresh ginger root
Spring water


5 sprigs each; fresh dill weed, parsley, chervil, tarragon fennel fronds
2 ounces cabbage, green, savoy or napa, sliced
1/8 star anise
Tablespoon fennel seeds
Pinch black peppercorns and sel gris

Clean, dice or chop all the vegetables and seasoning ingredients except those listed as Tourrage. Using a large heavy-bottomed non-reactive stockpot, distribute the ingredients in layers beginning with those that are the most firm such as carrots and parsnips and ending with the least firm, mushrooms, tomatoes and fruits.

Cover with water; increase heat until water is barely trembling. Simmer very gently about 1 hours. Add the tourrage ingredients and turn off heat. Let mixture steep at least 30 minutes. Strain without pressing on solids. Cool before storing. Stock will keep 1 week in airtight containers refrigerated, longer if frozen.

Wine Pairing
1989 Bernard Faurie Hermitage "le Meal"