Saddle of venison with braised pork belly and lettuce, with roast figs and chestnut pureé – by Michael Caines

11 September 2006
Saddle of venison with braised pork belly and lettuce, with roast figs and chestnut pureé – by Michael Caines


(serves four)

½ saddle of roe venison, plus bones
500g (approx) braised pork belly
4 x Gem lettuce
Fig galette (see below)
400g (approx) chestnut purée
80g wild mushrooms, sautéd (for garnish)

For the marinade and sauce for venison
10 juniper berries, crushed
20 white peppercorns
Bay leaf
Large sprig of thyme
1 bottle of Pinot-type red wine
1 large onion, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled
100ml non-scented oil (eg, sunflower)
700ml chicken stock
300ml veal glaze
100ml cream
Salt and pepper
1tbs redcurrant jelly

For the braised belly of pork 50g smoked bacon pieces
1 onion, halved and studded with three cloves per half
3 shallots, peeled
1 carrot, halved lengthways
4 garlic cloves, peeled
2g dried ginger
5g peppercorns
1 star anise
5 juniper berries
Dried zest of 1 orange
1½ litres chicken stock
Bouquet garni

For the fig galette 4 figs, sliced
Salt and pepper
Pinch of five spice


For the marinade: place the juniper berries, peppercorns, bay leaf and thyme in a muslin money bag. Bring the red wine to the boil, allow to cool and add the money bag of spices and herbs. Marinate the chopped vegetables, saddle of venison and venison bones for eight hours.

Drain off the red wine. Extract the chopped vegetables and saddle venison. Sweat the vegetables with a little sunflower oil until soft. Roast the bones with a little sunflower oil. Once the bones are brown, add the vegetables and red wine and reduce by half.

Add the chicken stock, veal glaze, cream, a pinch of salt and the money bag of spices and herbs to the marinade reduction to make a sauce. Bring to the boil. Cook slowly for 30 minutes. Pass the stock. Reduce to a light coating consistency. Sweeten with redcurrant jelly. Season. Pass again.

For the braised belly of pork: place all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce temperature to 80-90ºC. Remove pork from pan. Remove skin, leaving some fat, then slice and cut into pieces. Pass the cooking liquid. Reserve the bacon pieces in cooking stock.

Remove outer leaves from Gem lettuce. Wash. Place in small saucepan. Fill pan to half-way with reserved pork stock. Bring to the boil, cover and place in hot oven. Braise for about 20 minutes. Remove lettuce from stock.

For the fig galette: place fig slices in a circle on a piece of foil. Season with salt, pepper, sugar and a pinch of five spice. Brush with butter. Place on a tray and oven-roast for 10 minutes until soft.

Brush saddle venison with a little oil. Season and roast it off. Leave to rest for 10 minutes. Reheat all the garnishes. Slice the saddle.

Place the fig galette into the middle of the plate. Place a layer each of lettuce, belly and saddle on top. Repeat. Garnish with mushrooms, chestnut purée and sauce.

Michael Caines

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