- Eight 6-8oz venison escallops trimmed of all sinew
- One large onion, finely chopped
- One carrot, thinly sliced
- Two sprigs of fresh thyme (a couple of pinches of dried will do, but fresh is always best)
- Six crushed juniper berries
- A sprig of rosemary
- A bottle of full-bodied red wine – no shrinking violets here, please!
- Three tablespoons of olive oil
24 – 48 hours before you plan to cook, make a marinade by combining the above ingredients in a suitably large bowl or pan. Then place the escalopes in the marinade, cover and store in a cool larder or refrigerator, turning the escalopes several times to ensure they are well marinated.
When you are ready to cook, heat a large cast iron frying pan and then put in a splash of sunflower or olive oil and wait until it is smoking hot. Remove the escalopes from the marinade and wipe the excess liquid with some kitchen towel. Place as many escalopes as will fit in the hot pan and seal them, turning after 3-4 minutes. Cook for a further 2 or 3 minutes, but not longer. The risk is of overcooking them, and should that happen, the escalopes will be very dry. When the escalopes are brown and begin to appear cooked, remove them and keep them warm whilst you cook the remaining ones.
When all are done, keep the frying pan on the heat, strain the marinade and pour the resultant liquid into the pan. Cook this over a high heat and then check the seasoning. Sweeten to taste with a teaspoon or two of hawthorn or rowan jelly, and then thicken with a teaspoon or two of cornflour slaked with a little water. Boil for a little longer and then add the cooked escalopes to the pan.
Serve with a potato, celeriac and parsley mash enriched with double cream, and an endive and orange salad – immediately!