Venison loin with parsnip puree and baby beets
This delightful venison dish comes from Mt Difficulty's cellar door restaurant. A collaboration between the winery's executive chef Werner Hecht-Wendt and O'Connell Street Bistro head chef Mark Southon for the 2016 Rio Olympics, using top quality Central Otago ingredients such as wild Red Tussock venison (which is smoked and not hard to do yourself at home, see instructions below), honey made from hives around the vineyards and wild Bannockburn thyme. The dish is perfectly matched with Mt Difficulty Inspiration Cuvee Pinot Noir 2013 - the official wine of the New Zealand Olympics Games Team.
- To make your smoker, place a sheet of aluminium foil in the base of a frying pan big enough to fit the foil tray and scatter over the wood chips to cover the base. Take the aluminium foil tray and use a sharp knife to poke holes all over its surface. Place it over the wood chips. Set to one side. Bring venison to room temperature.
- Heat oven to 200C. Place beetroots on a baking tray with 4 shallots. Season with salt and add a third of the thyme leaves. Drizzle with oil. Roast for 20 to 25 minutes, until tender. Meanwhile place parsnip ribbons on another baking tray. Drizzle with oil and, after beets have been cooking for 20 minutes, add ribbons to the oven. Cook until golden and crispy. Keep warm.
- Meanwhile place diced parsnip in a pan with 2 cups hot stock and another third of thyme leaves. Bring to the boil and cook about 20 minutes until tender. Drain, keeping them in a little of the cooking water. Set to one side.
- For the mushrooms, heat a tablespoon of oil in a pan and cook finely chopped shallot and garlic for 2 to 3 minutes with remaining thyme. Add mushrooms and cook for a further 2 to 3 minutes. Add ¼ cup stock and cook for a further 3 minutes. Keep warm.
- Heat the ‘smoker’ over a medium heat for 3-4 minutes. Reduce heat to low, place venison in smoker and cover tightly with a lid or foil (to prevent smoke escaping). Smoke for 5 minutes. Allow the venison to cool.
- Heat a frying pan with a little oil and when hot, brown venison on all sides, 2 pieces at a time. Transfer to an ovenproof tray and cook for 4 to 6 minutes (medium– rare/pink is recommended). Once the venison is cooked, remove from the oven and leave to rest while the rest of the dish is completed.
- Heat venison pan with reserved juices from venison, and the butter. Once melted, add red wine. Bring to the boil, reduce heat and cook until sauce thickens.
- Drain parsnip and blend in a processor to a smooth puree, using a little reserved stock if necessary. Toss beetroot and shallots in honey. Thinly slice venison. Sprinkle parsnip ribbons with edible gold powder.
- To serve, place some parsnip puree on base of plate, arrange a spoonful of mushrooms at the side, with beets and shallots. Place sliced venison on top of puree. Drizzle with jus and serve topped with gold-dusted parsnip ribbons.