Loin of venison with apple rösti, roasted brussels sprouts, rich game and peppercorn sauce

Loin of venison with apple rösti, roasted brussels sprouts, rich game and peppercorn sauce

William Meppem

Venison is a farmed game meat available all year round in Australia, but it’s best served with the flavours of autumn and winter. Here in Melbourne cooks are fortunate to have four definitive seasons to draw fresh produce from, unlike most of Australia, and the game season is something we all look forward to. Try the roasted brussels sprouts, even if you think you don’t enjoy them – never has the humble sprout tasted as good. This game sauce is also excellent with hare and duck.


Quantity Ingredient

Peppercorn sauce

Quantity Ingredient
50ml olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
300g lean beef trimmings
100g shallots, roughly chopped
5 garlic cloves, finely sliced
100g field mushrooms, roughly diced
2 tablespoons black peppercorns, coarsely cracked
2 tablespoons white peppercorns, coarsely cracked
1/2 bunch thyme
250ml brandy
300ml Veal jus
600ml pouring cream
pinch salt
lemon juice, squeezed
1 tablespoon finely chopped green peppercorns
knob butter
1/2 bunch tarragon, leaves chopped
4 220 g pieces venison loin or denver legpieces of venison loin or denver leg, all fat and sinew removed
pinch salt
2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
50ml olive oil
50g butter

Game sauce

Quantity Ingredient
50ml olive oil
250g venison or beef trimmings, or finely chopped bones
2 tablespoons coarsely cracked black pepper
1 teaspoon crushed juniper berries
6 garlic cloves, smashed
50g butter
1 bay leaf
thyme sprigs
100g fresh or frozen blackcurrants
150g redcurrant jelly
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
250ml red wine
500ml Veal jus
75g blackcurrants or redcurrants

Apple rösti

Quantity Ingredient
400g desiree potatoes, lightly steamed in their skins for 15 minutes, peeled and grated
salt and freshly ground black pepper
200g butter, melted
pinch nutmeg
pinch see method for ingredients
100ml olive oil
100g granny smith apples, peeled and grated


Quantity Ingredient
1 large celeriac
250ml peanut oil
sea salt flakes
200g brussels sprouts
50ml olive oil
50g butter
50g sugar
small handful chopped thyme leaves
150g kaiserfleisch, diced into 1 cm lardons
1 tablespoon olive oil


  1. To make the pepper sauce, take a large casserole and heat the olive oil and butter over a high heat. Fry the beef trimmings vigorously until they are well coloured all over, then add the shallots and garlic. Cook together until the shallots collapse and begin to caramelise, then add the mushrooms and continue cooking until soft. Add the peppercorns and thyme and cook for a few more minutes. Deglaze with brandy, tilt the pan towards the flame (taking care) and then flambé the alcohol.
  2. Allow the brandy to reduce completely before adding the veal jus. Bring to the boil over a medium heat and reduce to a rich glaze. Add the cream, bring back to the boil and season with salt and lemon juice. Reduce to a very low heat and cover with a lid to keep the sauce warm while you prepare the caramelised shallots.
  3. To cook the steaks, first bring them to room temperature so they cook evenly. Heat a frying pan wide enough to accommodate all the steaks over a high heat. Add olive oil and seal each steak well for 2 minutes on each side. Reduce the temperature of the pan if the steaks are getting too much colour. Remove the steaks from the pan and rest for 1 minute in a low oven to keep warm.
  4. Deglaze the frying pan with the brandy over a medium heat, stirring any sediment off the base of the pan. Once reduced to a thin syrup, add this to the pepper sauce. Bring the pepper sauce back to the boil and check the seasoning. Pass through a sieve and add the green peppercorns, a knob of butter and the tarragon.
  5. Prepare the sauces first, as they need time to develop their true flavours.
  6. To make the game sauce, heat a large frying pan over a high heat, add the olive oil and vigorously fry the venison trimmings all over until well coloured. Add the pepper, juniper berries, garlic and butter and caramelise the garlic. Add the herbs and blackcurrants and cook until the berries collapse. Then add the redcurrant jelly and bring to the boil. Add the vinegar and boil to reduce by half. Add the wine and reduce to a syrup, then add the veal jus. Reduce the temperature to a medium heat and simmer for 30–40 minutes, skimming off any impurities that may rise to the surface, until it becomes a rich sauce.
  7. Prepare the peppercorn sauce while the game sauce is simmering, and set aside.
  8. When the game sauce is ready, turn off the heat and allow it to infuse for 10 minutes. Then pass through a fine sieve, cover and set aside.
  9. Preheat oven to 200°C.
  10. For the rösti, combine the grated potatoes with the seasoning, butter and spices. Heat 4 small nonstick, ovenproof blini pans over a low heat and add olive oil to each. Squeeze the potatoes together to form a kind of coarse mash in your hands. Spoon in enough of this mixture to half fill each pan then place the grated apple on top. Using a palette knife, spread the apple around the surface of the potato, then top with the remaining potato and press flat so the mixture is compacted. Smooth around the sides with the palette knife. Place each pan over a medium heat until the rösti begins to colour, pressing down the mixture as it cooks to form a cake. Once evenly coloured, carefully turn the rösti over in the pans and repeat cooking while pressing down on the other side. Finally put the rösti pans onto a baking tray and bake for about 10 minutes – test with a fork or skewer to ensure the cakes are soft in the centre before removing them. Press down once more, then turn out and set aside.
  11. Prepare the garnishes. Shave the celeriac as thinly as possible on a Japanese mandolin. Roll up 3–4 slices at a time into a cigar shape and finely shred, to create hair-like pieces of celeriac. Meanwhile, in a deep heavy-based saucepan heat the peanut oil to 180°C then scatter the celeriac into the oil in 2 batches. As it fries, stir with a fork until it begins to colour, then give it a final stir together and drain on a tray of paper towels. Season lightly with sea salt flakes and shape into 4 neat piles while warm.
  12. To prepare the brussels sprouts, reduce the temperature of the oven to 180°C. Heat a little olive oil in an ovenproof pan and lightly fry the sprouts over a medium heat until evenly coloured. Then add the butter, sugar, thyme and a pinch of salt. Roast in the oven for 10–15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until crisp all over and caramelised. Drain and keep warm.
  13. The bacon lardons just need a quick pan-frying until well coloured and crisp, then drain off any excess oil and combine with the sprouts.
  14. When all the accompaniments are prepared, season the venison all over with a pinch of salt and roll in the pepper. Heat some olive oil in an ovenproof frying pan over a high heat and add the venison loins to the pan. Seal on all sides. Add the butter to the pan and place in the oven – cook for 4 minutes for rare, 6–8 minutes for medium. Turn and baste once while the meat cooks.
  15. Reheat the rösti in the oven as you cook the venison. Warm the sprouts and lardons and lightly season. Boil the 2 sauces, adding the additional blackcurrants to the game sauce. Remove the venison from the oven – it should feel soft towards the centre and a skewer inserted into the middle should come out warm.
  16. To serve, place a warm potato rösti in the centre of each plate and spoon some brussels sprouts and lardons alongside. Cut 1 centimetre off each end of a venison loin, then cut the loin in half widthwise and stand upright on the rösti with the cut side facing you. Surround with the rich game sauce then a spoonful of the pepper sauce to create a marbled effect. Finish with a ball of fried celeriac beside the venison.
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