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Joachim Splichal
Venison Medallions With Persimmons And Celery Root Mousse With Black Pepper Sauce
Recipe by Joachim Splichal of Patina

Yield: Serves 4

Ask your butcher to remove the venison loin from the bones and chop the bones up for the stock. You will need to start with about a 3-pound loin, with the bone in, to yield a 1 1/4-pound boneless loin, which can then be trimmed into 8 equal medallions. If you slice the celery root with a mandoline, the "chips" will be golden, crunchy, and lighter-than-air.

Celery Root "Chips"

  • 1 small celery root, about 8 ounces, peeled, trimmed and sliced paper-thin
  • Vegetable oil for deep-frying

In a large, heavy saucepan, heat the oil to 375 degrees F. Using a skimmer, fry the slices of celery root for 4 to 5 minutes, or until crisp and golden. Drain on paper towels and set aside.

Celery Root Mousse

  • 1 large or 2 small celery roots, about 1 1/4 pounds total, peeled, trimmed and cut into 2-inch chunks
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • Salt and freshly ground white pepper

In a medium saucepan, combine the celery root with the milk (add water if necessary to be sure all the chunks are covered with liquid), and bring to a simmer. Cook for 25 to 30 minutes, or until tender, then put through the fine disk of a food mill or mash with a masher, and return to the pan. Over low heat, stir in the butter and salt and pepper, to taste. Set aside, covered.

Venison Stock

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • Bones and trimmings from the venison loin, chopped into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 medium carrot, coarsely chopped
  • 5 medium shallots, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon coarsely cracked black pepper
  • 1 cup port
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 quart red wine
  • 2 cloves garlic, unpeeled
  • 1 1/2 quarts chicken stock

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. In a large ovenproof braising or roasting pan, heat half of the butter over medium-high heat. Add the bones and trimmings and sauté for 5 to 6 minutes, turning with kitchen tongs until nicely browned all over. Add the carrot, shallots, pepper and remaining butter, stir to mix thoroughly and roast in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring once or twice during the cooking time, until dark brown and caramelized. Remove from the oven and pour off the fat. Return the pan to the stove top over medium heat and deglaze with the port, stirring and scraping the bottom and sides to release all the flavorful bits into the liquid. Add the thyme and the bay leaf and continue to cook until the liquid is reduced by half. Add the wine and stir to mix, then simmer, stirring occasionally, until the wine has evaporated almost completely away, watching carefully that it doesn't go too far and burn. Add the stock, bring the liquid to a simmer, cover and cook for 1 hour.

Strain the stock through a strainer lined with a double thickness of slightly dampened cheesecloth into a small saucepan, pressing down hard on the solids to extract all their flavor; discard the solids. Again, bring the stock to a simmer and reduce by about two thirds, or until about 1 1/4 cups of liquid remains. Set aside, covered, until you are ready for the final assembly.

Venison

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 8 medallions of venison loin, about 2 1/2 ounces each and 1 1/2 to 2 inches thick
  • Salt and freshly ground white pepper

In a large sauté pan, heat the butter over medium-high heat until the foam has subsided and the butter is very hot. Add the medallions and cook for 1 to 2 minutes on each side, then reduce the heat, cover the pan and cook for 2 minutes more, until the outside is nice and brown and the inside is still pink. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then transfer to a plate and cover with aluminum foil while you finish the sauce.

Assembly

  • The reserved reduced venison stock
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter at room temperature, cut into 2 pieces
  • The reserved celery root mousse
  • The venison medallions
  • 2 ripe persimmons, peeled and halved (peel as you would a tomato)
  • The reserved celery root chips

Bring the reduced venison stock back to a simmer. Remove from the heat and swirl in the butter, a piece at a time, stirring and swirling until it is completely absorbed. Gently reheat the celery root mousse. Using 2 teaspoons, make 12 quenelles of the mousse and place 3 in a fan shape on the bottom of each of 4 large, heated dinner plates. Place 2 of the venison medallions on the top of the plate and garnish with a halved persimmon. Spoon some of the sauce over the top of the venison and around the plate and garnish with a few of the celery root chips.


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