NB: the celeriac dauphinois takes about an hour and a half
for the celeriac dauphinois (can be made ahead and frozen):
- 2 tbsp lemon juice (juice of one medium lemon*)
- 1 small celeriac, weighing about 600g
- 2 medium FLOURY potatoes (King Edward or Maris Piper)
- 1 red onion
- 300 ml tub/½ pint/1¼ cups double cream
- smoked salt and Indonesian long pepper
for the venison:
- 4 small venison fillets (allow 150g each)
- sunflower oil for frying
- 4 tbsp (about half a jar) of pomegranate jelly (try Dart Valley Foods’ Butler’s Grove pomegranate jelly, available from most farm shops, I use Newlyn’s. If Life Is Too Short to find pomegranate, use redcurrent jelly)
- 2 x tbsp red martini – or maybe a bit more
- 1 x tbsp sundried tomato paste
- 1 x tbsp dried herbes de Provence
- a square or two of very dark chocolate
- first make the celeriac gratin – it can be made ahead of time and frozen. Preheat the oven to 200°C (use the top right aga oven)
- peel and quarter the celeriac and slice to the thickness of a euro coin
- pour the lemon juice over, coating the celeriac slices
- peel and thinly slice the potato, and add to celeriac
- chop the onion finely
- in an ovenproof dish layer the celeriac, the potato, the onion, the cream, and generous seasoning – aim to achieve about three layers, topping finally with cream
- cover with foil and bake for about 45 minutes (in the top right oven if you have an aga) then take the foil off and bake for another 30 minutes – it should be crispy (but not dry) and bubbling. If planning to freeze take it out a little before this stage and crisp up when you reheat.
- make the dressing by simply mixing the vinegar, oil, seasoning and the dried sour cherries.
all of this can be done ahead of time. Then: preheat the oven to 200°C if you are starting again at this point.
- cover the surface of the frying pan with the oil, get it nice and hot and brown on all sides (even the sides) – about two minutes each side – to seal in the juices and the flavour. Or rather, NOT in order to seal in the juices, but so as to make the meat taste better… why am I saying this? Go here for a technical explanation.
- then rub in the jelly and put in a deepish (to make gravy) baking tray
- again, this could be done a couple of hours ahead.
- put the fillets in for about eight minutes if you like your meat rare. Very thick pieces may need a little longer.
- take out, put on a plate and cover with foil, leaving to rest about ten minutes.
- make the gravy by deglazing the roasting tin with a generous slosh of red martini or marsala, some sundried tomato paste, and the dried herbs. It should be a beautiful rich chocolatey silky brown colour…. you could add the odd square of very dark chocolate if you have some to hand.
*for something like this it is absolutely fine to use the lemon juice in bottles or little squeezy plastic lemons. For reassurance look at the test carried out by the Huffington Post. OK, in a lemon salad dressing fresh lemon juice is better, but in this recipe the lemon is really only being used to prevent the celeriac from going brown, the instant, easier, to-hand stuff is fine.
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