Friday, 7 September 2012

Pan-fried Balsamic Marinated Venison Steaks with Sweet Sour Peppers

I bought some venison steaks from Lidl a while ago which have been sitting in the freezer for a while and with the bf staying (and having just installed a new shower pump for me!) I thought this a perfect time to crack them out and try and do something special with them.

Lidl gets a bit of a bad rap really I think - people tend to just think of it as budget and therefore poor quality. But there aren’t many places that you can routinely pick up venison steaks, barbary duck breasts, lobster and more: plus as anyone who knows me knows I have a slight obsession with their prosecco!

I jotted down a whole page of ideas of what to do with the steaks: with grilled butternut squash, sautéed spinach, port & blackberry sauce, green peppercorn and whisky sauce.. the list was pretty long & detailed. In the end, thinking back to a meal I had in Rome with the girls earlier in the year I fancied devising a sort of sweet sour marinated peppers side, keeping the rest fairly simple.

Deciding to use balsamic vinegar with the peppers to get the kind of mild sweet sourness I was after, I chose to also use balsamic as a marinade for the steaks too which could then be turned into a scant and simple sauce. The balsamic causes blackening of the steaks when they are pan-fried (they may look burnt in the photos but they’re not!) which in turn gives a subtle sweet smokiness to the steaks which goes well with the peppers.

Balsamic Marinated Venison Steaks
serves 2

2 medium venison steaks or 4 small
4 tbsp balsamic vinegar
4 tbsp olive oil
2 small garlic clove, lightly smashed
2 tsps juniper berries, lightly crushed
freshly ground black pepper

Mix the ingredients in a medium bowl or dish and then add the steaks making sure that they all get covered with the marinade. Leave the steaks in the marinade for at least an hour but preferably longer, turning occasionally.

Remove from the marinade and brush off any excess.

Pan fry the steaks over a medium-high heat for 5 minutes on the first side and 3 or 4 on the other.

Let rest for 5 minutes and in the meantime pour a small amount of port into the pan to deglaze, add the marinade, stir around and allow to bubble for a minute or too until you have a fairly small amount of glossy sauce.

Slice the steaks on the diagonal, arrange on top of the sweet peppers as below with a drizzle of the sauce and accompanied with roasted (with a tiny sprinkle of cumin, honey and olive oil) chantenay carrots and sauté potatoes.

Sweet Sour Peppers and Red Onion
serves 2

1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 small red onion halved, thinly sliced crosswise
3 grilled, skinned red peppers from a jar, sliced into thin strips
⅛ tsp red pepper flakes
splash of extra olive oil
1 ½ tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp sweet vinegar from the pepper jar
1 tbsp water
½ tsp soft brown sugar
small sprig thyme, leaves picked and chopped
small clove garlic, sliced
sea salt & freshly ground pepper
1 tbsp drained capers

Heat the olive oil in a fairly heavy-based pan over a medium heat. Add the onions and sauté over a gentle heat for 10 -15 minutes until tender. Keep an eye on them - you do not want them to colour.

Mix in the red pepper strips and stir to mix. Add the red pepper flakes, sugar, vinegars, extra olive oil, water, thyme, garlic. Cook gently for 5 minutes.

Season to taste, cover and remove from heat. Leave to cool.

You can cover and refrigerate at this point if you are making ahead.

You can either serve this at room temperatue, or if you prefer, just warm. In either case, just before serving, stir in the capers. And if you do want it warm, put over a low heat. To allow the flavours to come through you do want this only gently warmed. . Remove the garlic slices and divide between two plates with the sliced venison steaks atop.

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