RECIPES - Chianti braised venison with polenta, roasted hazelnuts and pomegranate

by Marcello Muiesan

Despite my origins, there has always been a strong link with Tuscany in my cooking.

My father moved there in the 80’s and I spent most of my summers since then.

The beautiful landscape of the Tuscan hills, the colours and the smell of the woodland...

Everything takes my mind back to the hunters that were passing by our land leaving a present for the free passage.

Sometimes it was a piece of wild boar, some other times a pheasant...

In these recipes I will cook what it’s probably my favorite game above all... Deer!  

Ingredients for serving 4 people.

For the braised venison

800gr venison loin 
50gr lard from Colonnata
1 medium onion
1 medium carrot
1 celery
Voatsiperifery peppercorn of Madagascar
Maldon salt
5 juniper berries
750ml Chianti
Extra virgin olive oil
50gr plain flour

In a large bowl put the venison loin cut in 4 big chunks, onion, carrots, and celery also cut in big pieces, sage, rosemary, thyme, juniper berries, and the Voatsiperifery peppercorn.

Cover completely with Chianti wine, don’t be afraid to open a good bottle, the better the wine, the better and tastier the sauce will be.

Seal with cling film and leave to marinate in the fridge for a couple of days.

Remove the venison from the bowl and filter the liquid in a jar, then separate the vegetables from the herbs and the spices, keep the thyme and the Voatsiperifery peppercorn apart, you will need it later.

Heat a large saucepan and pour the olive oil and the butter. When completely melted add carrots, celery and onion finely chopped.

Let the vegetables cooked for few minutes stirring continuously and then add the lard from Colonnata, also finely chopped.

When the lard starts getting translucent roll the venison chunks in flour and places them in the pan, let them seal by frequently turning them but don’t let them get stuck to the bottom and burn.

Cover with the wine from the marinating, add salt, the Voatsiperifery peppercorn (milled) and thyme and let cook for about 3 hours stirring occasionally.

To check if the venison is cooked enough stick a fork in the larger piece if it goes in easily it means it is ready.

For the polenta

200gr polenta Bramata
1.4lt cold water

Bring to boil 1.4 lt of salted water, add the polenta and stir continuously for about 50 minutes.

If too solid, add more water while cooking. Keep warm.

For the roasted hazelnuts

30gr hazelnuts

Preheat the oven to 180C. Place a layer of baking sheet on the tray and toast the hazelnuts for about 10 minutes tossing them every 3 minutes or so.

When the skin starts to blister leave for another minute and then put them on a fine sieve.

Shake it well until the skin comes off leaving the hazelnuts completely peeled. 

For the presentation (one portion)

10gr Pomegranate seeds
Micro basil

On a round plate, draw few irregular strips of polenta. Fill the inner gaps with the sauce from braising.

Place a piece of venison slightly off the center of the plate and dust around 4 crushed hazelnuts and 10gr of pomegranate seeds.

Wine pairing

Amarone della Valpolicella D.O.C. – Aldrighetti

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