Venison Loin and Parsnip Chips

Venison Loin and Parsnip Chips

Roasted venison loin simply drizzled with a little olive oil and smoked sea salt pairs deliciously with parsnip chips which have had a light dusting of cayenne. This dish would make a great weekend supper or could be scaled up for an impressive dinner party!

I served the venison and chips with a watercress salad and mini pancetta dauphinoise.

Venison Loin and Parsnip Chips
Serves 2

Ingredients:

500g Venison Loin (In the Piece, Fully Trimmed)
1 Sprig Rosemary
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Smoked Sea Salt
6 Parsnips (Peeled, Cut into chips and store in water)
1/2 Tsp Cayenne Pepper
Vegetable Oil
Small Handful Chopped Parsley
Sea Salt
Cracked Black Pepper

Method:

1) Pre heat the oven to 220C. Place 4 Tbsp of vegetable oil into a large baking tin and place into the oven to pre heat.

2) Meanwhile, place the parsnips in a large pan and fill with cold water. Place over a high heat and bring to the boil. Once boiled, drain the parsnips and dry thoroughly with kitchen towel.

3) Place the parsnips in a large bowl with the cayenne pepper and toss to combine. Add the parsnips to the baking tray and roast for around 40 minutes, turning occasionally – until golden brown. Once ready, remove from the oven and toss through with the chopped parsley and some sea salt before serving.

4) Meanwhile, season the venison loin with black pepper and sear in a little olive oil with the rosemary in a hot pan for around 4 minutes each side. Place in a dish and transfer to the oven to continue cooking to your liking – around 2-5 minutes (I look for an internal temperature of 54-56C).

5) Once done, remove the venison from the oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes before carving. Drizzle with olive oil and a little smoked sea salt before serving with the parsnip chips.

Enjoy!

In Search of the Perfect Fries

 

I’m going to stick my neck on the line here – McDonald’s fries are good. So good in fact that I just had to attempt to recreate them at home.

Fries just don’t get much better – crisp and fluffy with a big smack of salt. Not only do they retain their crispness for a commendable time after frying, they are heavenly moreish. For me, they are the perfect fries.

I am making a big distinction here between fries and chips – it is best not to get the two confused. Fries are the skinny ones, chips the fat. Fries are best with a burger and chips (especially triple cooked) best with a steak. Nothing will ever beat the satisfaction of tucking into a large bowl of chips. Sometimes; however, fries are the best option.

First and foremost, the star of the show – the potato. With a myriad of varieties on offer it is sometimes impossible to choose. But, of course, only certain varieties are perfectly suited to ‘chipping’. We need a potato which is widely available and has a fairly high dry matter content – meaning there is less moisture in the potato which may turn the fries limp! Maris Piper fit the bill. For those that are interested, The European Cultivated Potato Database is a fantastic online resource.

Now that we have the potato, it is all down to the cooking. Searching for those elusive McDonalds fries, it struck me, why not do as they do? A quick search and all questions were answered. Firstly this article, in part by a former McDonalds employee, explains the factory procedure the french fries go through before reaching the restaurant freezers. Daunting at first, until I found this little gem – an article by Serious Eats’ J. Kenji López-Alt. An amazing step by step guide on creating the perfect McDonalds french fries at home – if you haven’t already read, I urge you to.

The perfect fries, much like the perfect chips, is a three-step process. First the cut potato must be poached in water for 15 minutes at 76.5C – the perfect temperature to par-cook without breaking down the starches. After being dried, the chips are then fried at 182C for 50 seconds. I then froze the chips at this stage before the final frying. Before serving, fry at 190C for 3 ½ minutes, then drain and salt.

Stage One Complete

I am fortunate to have a Sous Vide Supreme in the cupboard to poach the chips at exactly 76.5C. However, I revert you to the Serious Eats article for a more conventional first step! Don’t scrimp with the salt (I doused mine in Himalayan pink salt) and you will have the perfect batch of french fries to savor.

Why not make a big batch to stage 2, freeze, then pull out the freezer for their final fry when required!

French Fries
Serves 4
Ingredients:
750g Maris Piper Potatoes, Peeled and Chipped
Vegetable Oil
Sea Salt

Method:
1) Store the fries in cold water between peeling and chipping. Poach fries in a water bath (loose) at 76.5C for 15 minutes. Remove and drain.
2) Pat the fries dry with kitchen towel before frying in vegetable oil at 182C for 50 seconds. Probably best to complete this stage in batches. Drain the fries.
3) Freeze the fries at this stage for use later. Alternatively, continue to the next step.
4) Fry in 190C oil for 3 ½ minutes, or until very lightly browned. Drain and season liberally with salt.

Enjoy!

Sous Vide Venison, Parsnip Chips


 

October is the best month of the year – Venison season and my birthday month, all topped off by Halloween celebrations! Venison is my favourite game meat and the one I cook most often. It is a truly beautiful meat – a perfect balance of tenderness and gamey flavour (which doesn’t over-power).

Loin is a perfect showcase for sous vide cooking and has proved the most appreciative recipient. Cooking for 1 hour at 61C gives perfect results. I then rolled the venison in Taste No. 5 powder before quickly searing to give a greater depth of flavour – but it would be equally delicious without.

I’ve recently discovered smoked sea salt and I’m an instant convert. Sprinkle a little on the venison and drizzle over some Oro De Bailen before serving – perfection (and very little work)!

I craved something starchy and fried with this but I’ve had a glut of tripe cooked chips recently. To save my guilt I knocked up a quick batch of parsnip chips – recipe included.

Sous Vide Venison, Parsnip Chips

Serves 2

Ingredients:
For the Venison: 500g Trimmed Venison Loin, 1tbsp Butter, 1 Thyme Sprig, 1 Garlic Clove Bashed, Taste No. 5 Powder, Smoked Sea Salt, Extra Virgin Olive Oil
For the Chips: 2 Large Parsnips, 1tbsp Plain Flour, 1tsp Cayenne Pepper, 4tbsp Vegetable Oil, Sea Salt, Black Pepper

Method:
1) Pre-heat the water bath to 61C. Make a herb sachet by wrapping the thyme and garlic in cling film and cutting off the ends. Vacuum pack the venison with the butter and herb sachet. Place in the water bath and cook at 61C for 1 hour.
2) In the meantime, make the parsnip chips. Pre heat the oven to 210C. Add the oil to a medium baking tray and place in the oven to heat.
3) Cut the parsnips into even sized chips and place in a large pan of salted cold water. Bring the water to the boil, boil for two minutes then drain the parsnips.
4) Place the parsnips in a bowl with the flour, cayenne, a little salt and pepper. Toss to combine. Cook the chips in the hot oil for around 30 minutes or until crisp, turn half way through cooking. Keep warm until the venison is ready.
5)  Once the venison is ready, remove from the water bath and the vacuum bag. Sprinkle with Taste No. 5 powder and sear quickly in a little olive oil in a very hot pan.
6) To serve, slice the venison, sprinkle with a little smoked sea salt and drizzle with good quality extra-virgin olive oil. Serve the parsnip chips on the side.

Triple Cooked Chips

 

You’ve all heard of them by now, Heston Blumenthal’s triple cooked chips have taken the world by storm. It seems every restaurant is serving up a rendition of this modern classic. To mess with the mighty chip was a brave move, but it paid off. This recipe is truly worth the hype.

I was fortunate to try these delights at Heston’s ‘pub’ in Bray – the Hinds Head. They were delicious, but perhaps a little undercooked for my liking – I thought I would try them at home.

It may seem like a lot of effort for a measly chip, but please make the effort, you will be truly rewarded.

Triple Cooked Chips

1kg Maris Piper Potatoes, cut into chips of equal size.

3 Liters Groundnut or Vegetable Oil

Sea Salt

Method:

1) Soak the chips in running water for 20 minutes to remove some of the starch.

2) Simmer the chips in salted water until just cooked, they shouldn’t be completely falling apart but should break with ease.

3) Lay the chips on a baking tray and transfer to the freezer for 1 hour.

4) Fry the chips in batches at 130C for 5-7 minutes until they are slightly ‘crunchy’ on the outside – they should not colour.

5) Lay the chips on kitchen roll on a baking tray and transfer to the fridge. They can be kept here for up to 3 days before serving.

6) Fry the chips at 180-190C until golden brown, approximately 7-8 minutes. Drain and sprinkle with flaked sea salt.

Eat them quick – they won’t last long!