Recipe (serves 4):

For the crust:

• 150 g of soft butter
• ½ bunch of fresh thyme
• 50 g of walnuts
• 20 g of acacia honey
• 2 egg yolks
• 25 g of breadcrumbs
• Fine salt
• Freshly ground black pepper

For the saddle of venison:

• 2 loin fillets of approximately 500 g
• 4 sprigs of thyme
• 1 teaspoon of black peppercorns
• 1 teaspoon of juniper berries
• ½ teaspoon of coarse salt
• ½ teaspoon of demerara sugar
• 50 g of clarified butter

For the gravy:

• 4 shallots, 4 fresh garlic gloves
• 50 g of butter
• 1 red chilli pepper
• 2 sprigs of thyme
• Fine salt
• 100 g of uncooked floury potatoes
• 100 ml of red wine
• 100 ml of red port wine
• 600 ml of game stock
• 1 teaspoon of cornflour
• 1 tablespoon of Melange Noir pepper mixture

For the chestnut purée:

• 20 g of sugar
• 30 ml of maple syrup
• 150 ml of single cream
• Fine salt
• 200 g of chestnuts (vacuum-packed)
• Freshly ground black pepper

For the elderberry pears:

• 2 pears
• 1/2 an organic orange
• 50 g of sugar
• 150 ml of elderberry juice
• 50 ml of elderberry syrup
• 200 ml of pear juice
• ½ a vanilla pod
• 1 teaspoon of cornflour

SOONWALD SADDLE OF VENISON WITH A WALNUT CRUST

Preparation:

Walnut crust:

1.Beat the butter in a food processor for 5 minutes into a thick foamy consistency. Separate the thyme leaves from the stalks and roughly chop the leaves. Place the walnuts in a sandwich bag and crush them up roughly. Mix the beaten butter thoroughly with the thyme, walnuts, honey, egg yolks and breadcrumbs. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Place the mixture in transparent film and flatten it out to an even thickness of around 0.5 cm and then chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Saddle of venison:

1. Remove the fat and sinews from the two loin fillets. Place the peppercorns, juniper berries, a little coarse salt and demerara sugar in a food processor and grind very finely. Rub the mixture over both loin fillets. Marinade the loin fillets at room temperature for at least 30 minutes. Next, heat the clarified butter in a frying pan and sear the venison fillets on all sides. Then place them together with the thyme on an oven grid and cook at 160°C top/bottom heat for approximately 8-10 minutes. Wrap in aluminium foil and leave to rest. Shortly before serving, cut the walnut butter into two strips according to the size of the venison fillets. Place the strips on top of the venison fillets and press down gently. Preheat the oven grill to 250°C. Place the venison fillets on the second shelf from the top and brown for 2-3 minutes.

Gravy:

1. Peel the shallots and garlic, cut into rough cubes. Cut the chilli pepper in half lengthwise, remove the seeds and cut each half into rough cubes. Warm the butter in a pot and slowly sauté the shallots, garlic and chilli over a medium heat until they become translucent. Peel the potatoes and grate them in using a square grater. Add the thyme and deglaze with red wine. Add the port wine and reduce the mixture almost completely. Add the game stock and reduce by half. Pour the sauce through a fine strainer into another pot and add the pepper mixture. Dissolve the cornflour in a little cold water and slightly thicken the sauce, season to taste with salt.

Chestnut purée:

1. Caramelise the sugar in a frying pan until light brown. Deglaze with syrup, pour over the cream. Add the chestnuts and boil until creamy. Season to taste with salt and black pepper, then purée finely using a food processor or hand-blender.

Elderberry pears:

1. Peel the pears, cut them in half and remove the cores. Cut the orange into thin slices. Caramelise the sugar until it becomes light in colour, deglaze with the elderberry juice and pour over the elderberry syrup and pear juice. Add the pears. Cut the vanilla pod lengthwise and scrape out the seeds. Add the vanilla seeds, pod and orange slices to the liquid and cook the pears until they are still firm to bite. Use the cornflour dissolved in a little cold water to slightly thicken the mixture.

To serve:

Cut the venison fillets into medallions. Arrange on plates together with the chestnut purée and elderberry-pears. Serve with the pepper gravy.