Seared Finnebrogue venison loin with onion tarte tatin, beetroot, carrots and a chocolate glaze


We are so lucky in Northern Ireland to be blessed with a bounty of amazing produce, and one of the finest examples of this is a small farm just outside Downpatrick Co Down. Found in the ancient woodland, they have a passion for great food. Their world famous Oisin venison has a delicate flavour which has earned them followers far and wide.
This is a very popular dish served in the great room restaurant, at the Merchant hotel. It is not the easiest of dishes to make, but it is well worth giving it a go, it will really impress your guests at your gourmet dinner party.

Serves 4


For the vegetables;                                                                                                                            
500g mixed colour beetroot
100ml sherry vinegar
100g sugar
15g salt
12 chantenay carrots, peeled and topped
1 celeriac

For the red onion tart tatin;
2 medium red onions
100g puff pastry
1 egg beaten (for glazing)
30g caster sugar
Knob butter

For the venison & sauce;
760g finnebrogue venison loin
40ml jus
10g dark chocolate
Couple drops raspberry vinegar
50g spinach, washed and picked
10g butter


For the vegetables garnish; Wash beetroot well and place into a pot large enough to hold them all. Cover with water the sherry vinegar, sugar and salt, bring the pan to the boil and reduce to simmer. Simmer for 45-50mins or until the beetroot are tender.  Leave the beetroot to cool in the pot. When cool enough to handle remove all of the outer skin and dice into 1cm cubes. Set aside ready for service.
Place the chantenay carrots into a pot and cover with cold water, add 2g salt and bring to the boil, cook for 7-8mins or until tender.
Peel the celeriac and dice into 1cm cubes, place into a pan and cover with cold water, bring to the boil. Then simmer until just cooked 7-8mins.

For the red onion tartin;
Peel onion and top and tail then cut in half so you can see the rings in the middle. Cut puff pastry with round cutter big enough to cover the onion half. Brush with egg wash then mould round onion, place the onion in the fridge and set for ½ hour. Place the sugar into a pan large enough to hold the 4 tarts, add tarts and cook until golden, add the knob of cold butter in with onions and place in oven at 185°c for 12 minutes. Pierce slight hole in the puff pastry to let the steam out.

For the sauce;
Place the jus into a small pan and bring to the boil jus, remove from the heat and whisk in the chocolate until completely incorporated, add a couple of drops of raspberry vinegar to taste. Set aside ready for service.

For the venison;
Remove all fat and sinew from the venison loin. Place a large frying pan over high heat and sear until golden brown. Place in 220°c oven for 8 minutes and then rest at room temperature for 5 minutes. Slice into 12 pieces.
To serve;
Cook spinach on medium heat with 5g butter.
Place a large pan over medium heat and add a little butter add all of the cooked vegetables and cook until golden brown.
Arrange the vegetables at the top of each plate, place the spinach and the onion tart at the front of the plate, place 3 slices of venison per plate on top of the spinach, drizzle over the sauce and serve.

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