Cured Venison, Wild Mushroom Tea, Fermented Cabbage, and Pickled Mustard Seeds

Adapted by
June 2016
Yield: 4 servings


Fermented Cabbage:
2½ pounds cabbage, finely chopped
1½ tablespoons sea salt
8 ounces grated horseradish
Cured Venison:
1 tablespoon wild juniper berries
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Peel of 1 orange
1 teaspoon pink salt
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon brown sugar
One 5-ounce venison loin, trimmed
Mushroom Tea:
3 cups water
2 sprigs thyme
1 bay leaf
Sea salt
Black pepper
1 pound hen of the woods mushrooms, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 ounces matsutake mushroom scraps
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
Pickled Mustard Seeds:
¾ cup water
1½ cups white wine vinegar
2½ tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon turmeric
1½ tablespoons kosher salt
1 cup mustard seeds
To Assemble and Serve:
1 tablespoon wild juniper berries
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 orange peel
1 teaspoon-size piece of a cinnamon stick
Small wild juniper branches
Smoked olive oil
4 matsutake mushrooms, cleaned, trimmed, stems peeled, sliced thinly on a mandolin


For the Fermented Cabbage

In a large bowl, combine cabbage and salt. Add horseradish and mix well. Transfer to a cambro, cover with plates, and weigh down with a brick or heavy can. Cover with a clean towel. Press down periodically to force out the water from the cabbage, until the brine rises above the plates, about 24 hours total. Store the container in a dry, cool area. A little mold may appear on the surface. If this happens, skim off as much as you can. The cabbage will be done after about a week of fermentation.

For the Cured Venison

In a bowl, combine juniper, coriander, orange, salts, and sugar. Season venison with the mixture and seal in a vacuum bag. Refrigerate overnight. Remove the venison from bag and rinse under cold water. Pat dry with paper towels. With a meat slicer, cut venison into ⅛-inch thick slices.

For the Mushroom Tea

In a medium saucepan with an insert for steaming, combine water, thyme, bay leaf, and 1 pinch salt. Top with insert and place mushrooms inside. Bring to a boil, cover, and steam mushrooms for 10 minutes. Remove steamer from heat. Discard mushroom pieces. Using a chinois, strain liquid into a saucepan and simmer until reduced by half. Place the liquid into a nonreactive container and add the matsutake scraps and soy sauce, and "make it rain" for 25 minutes. Line a chinois with a coffee filter. Strain liquid and discard solids.

For the Pickled Mustard Seeds

In a saucepot, combine water, vinegar, sugar, turmeric, and salt. Bring to a boil. Pour into nonreactive container with mustard seeds. Let stand at room temperature for at least 3 hours.

To Assemble and Serve

In a percolator, infuse hot Mushroom Tea with juniper berries, coriander, orange, and cinnamon. When infused, pour liquid into a small pot. Heat a piece of Japanese charcoal and place in a small bowl that will fit the pot. Surround with wild juniper branches. Place the pot over the charcoal and branches. Mound a little Fermented Cabbage on a plate, arrange 5 slices Cured Venison over the cabbate. Finish with smoked olive oil, Pickled Mustard Seeds, and matsutake mushrooms. Instruct guests to dip venison slices into the tea.