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Member recipe

Venison au Poivre for Two

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Serves 2

Actually this is Thomasina Miers' recipe but she wrote it for us at The Handpicked Collection - simple and healthy - we love it!

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  • 1 tbsp each of black and whitepeppercorns
  • 4 venison medallions
  • 30g butter
  • 1/2 onion or 2 baby shallots
  • 1/4 beef stock cube
  • 100ml brandy
  • 150ml water
  • 75ml crème fraiche


    1. Up to two hours before you are ready to eat, crush the peppercorns in a pestle and mortar and press them into the medallions. The pestle and mortar gives the peppercorns the perfect texture for this dish, but if you don't have one, put the peppercorns into a hard-wearing plastic bag and bash them with a rolling pin. Leave the meat aside for the pepper flavour to penetrate the meat. Pre-heat the oven to 60C and put in two plates to warm.
    2. TIP
    3. The secret is to take the steaks out of the fridge about 10 minutes before you cook them so that they can come up to room temperature. Then, the only other must is to get your pan (a heavy steak at the highest temperature possible. -bottomed frying-pan is ideal) smoking hot before you even add fat to it. That way you can really sear the Five minutes before you are ready to eat, heat a large heavy-bottomed frying-pan until it is smoking hot and then add half the butter. When the butter is sizzling (the pan should now be extremely hot), add the medallions and cook on one side for 2 minutes (if the medallions are thin you could cook for less - say 90 seconds), before turning and cooking for a further 60-90 seconds.
    4. Venison is very lean so is best eaten rare or it tends to get dry and chewy. When eaten rare the meat is so tender that it is almost like biting through butter. It will continue cooking in the oven while it rests so put the medallions on one of the plates whilst you make the sauce.
    5. Add the rest of the butter to the pan, turn it down to a medium heat and add the shallots and stock cube. Sweat for five minutes so that the shallots soften but do not colour before pouring in the brandy and water to de-glaze the pan. Simmer the juices rapidly for a few minutes before turning the heat right down and stirring in the crème fraiche.
    6. Simmer for a few minutes more to reduce the crème fraiche and check for seasoning Serve with a crisp, green salad and some small, waxy potatoes that you can either roast until crisp in the oven, or steam until tender. It is delicious accompanied with some kind of jelly like rosehip, quince or redcurrant.
    7. About the Author:
    8. Thomasina Miers is a member of the expert panel of style journalists and trendsetters who vet and select gifts for The Handpicked Collection, a website and catalogue featuring a selection of unique present ideas.
    9. Thomasina was winner of BBC 2's MasterChef in 2005 and has since co-presented Channel 4's Wild Gourmets and A Cook's Tour of Spain as well as writing books, Cook and Wild Gourmets and opening two Wahaca restaurants in London serving real Mexican market food. A very busy girl, she somehow also finds time to write regularly for Waitrose Food Illustrated and The Saturday Times.

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