Recipe - Pascal’s Muntjac platter
- Credit: Archant
Make the most of muntjac meat with Pascal Poyart’s muntjac platter recipe... you don’t have to make every part of the recipe, you can choose the bits you want to try
roasted loin ⁄ haunch confit ⁄ heritage carrot ⁄ petit pois ⁄ cherry bigarade sauce - By Pascal Poyart
MAIN INGREDIENTS (Serves 8):
* 2 whole muntjac loin fillets (around 350g each)
* 1 whole muntjac haunch/leg or 2 x shoulders, boned and rolled – see recipe for haunch confit
* 200g petit pois compote a la Francaise – see recipe
* 4 large heritage carrots
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* 200g fresh (or frozen) red cherries
* 200g red cherry bigarade sauce – see recipe
* 4 tbsp butter, cooking juice from the roasted loin pan
* 2 cloves garlic
* 1 sprig of thyme
* crushed black pepper and sea salt
* 4 tbsp olive oil / 100g butter
* Mixed seasonal foraged herbs – e.g. pea shoots, broad bean flowers, nasturtium, wild garlic, etc.
PREPARING THE CARCASS
I like to hang my deer carcasses for four to seven days, depending on the age of the deer, not just to tenderise the meat but also so the carcass is free of blood and dries up a little. You can hang it for longer according to your taste but please remember the fridge temperature needs to be between three to six degrees celsius.
1 haunch or shoulder of muntjac or other deer
For the salt curing, mix together the following ingredients: 1kg grey rock salt; 40g thyme and 20g rosemary, chopped; 10 crushed juniper berries; 6 cloves garlic, crushed. This can keep in the fridge for up to two months until needed.
Alcohol reduction (by half): 200ml Madeira, 200ml port, 50ml brandy
Curing: Take 200g of the salt curing mix and rub all over the haunch (tied with string or it will fall apart when cooked) then wrap with cling film and set aside for 24 hours.
Once it is cured, remove the cling film and wash all the salt off and cover with fresh water for 40 minutes. Remove and then pat dry with a cloth.
To make the confit: In a pan large enough for the haunch, place enough duck or goose fat with 15% water to cover your haunch. (Keep the fat afterwards and freeze it for next time). Bring it to a gentle simmer, add the haunch then cover it with foil and cook overnight in a preheated oven at 110°C for about 8 hours until the meat falls off the bone. Remove the foil and allow to cool completely.
Remove the meat from the bones and separate into small pieces making sure all the sinew and bones are removed.
You could keep the haunch confit whole as well – brush it well with my glace a rotir recipe and finish the whole haunch confit in an oven set at 200°C for 10 minutes to glaze.
Serve with mash and salad, a little Dijon mustard and a baguette... it will fall off the bones and melt. (Oh my god, this is also so delicious and simple. Wash it down with a nice Bordeaux and you’ll be a happy hunter!)
Once the meat is picked, add the alcohol reduction and 2 tbsp of cooking fat. Mix well and shape into balls (60g per person) and reserve. Warm in the oven for 10 minutes with some of the cherry sauce or just butter. Sometimes I also add some diced foie gras to the mixture, but this is French luxury!
Once cold, it will hold its shape. The confit can be kept in the freezer for up to two months once cooked. Enjoy!
CHERRY BRIGARADE SAUCE (CERISE)
250g fresh or frozen cherries, stoned (keep stones for sauce); 30g butter; 25g sugar; 25ml sherry vinegar; 25ml cider vinegar; 400ml muntjac stock or veal jus; 2 tbsp olive oil; muntjac trimmings
In a pan, add the olive oil with some of the muntjac trimmings from your haunch (see Top Tip). Cook until caramelised, remove the extra fat, add the butter and sugar to make a light-blonde caramel, then deglaze with both vinegars. Then add the cherries.
Cover with a lid and cook for about a minute until the cherries soften and break down. Remove the cherries; then add the stock and cherry stones. Bring to a gentle simmer for 20 minutes until it reaches a good consistency. Then pass through a fine sieve, return the fruit to the sauce and monter au beurre (finish) with a knob of fresh butter. Taste for seasoning.
PETIT POIS COMPOTE & HERITAGE CARROTS
250g frozen peas (petit pois); 20g fresh butter; 20g smoked bacon; 1 bay leaf; 25g white onion, chopped; 3g crushed garlic; 30g lettuce, shredded; 100ml water or chicken stock; 150ml double cream; 1 mint leaf.
METHOD:Add the butter to a pan, then over a moderate heat, add the bacon, onion, garlic, lettuce and bay leaf and cook gently for 5 minutes. Add the chicken stock (or water with half a cube of chicken stock), double cream, then the frozen peas and cook gently for 5 minutes. Remove the bay leaf, and a few peas for the plate. Add the fresh mint and then blitz well to form a smooth compote. Check seasoning.
For the heritage carrots: Peel, leave whole and cook gently with a knob of butter, enough water to just cover, salt, a pinch of sugar, 1 garlic clove and 1 thyme sprig. Cover with a cartouche (greased paper) and cook until just tender (about 10-15 minutes). Cut in half to serve, depending on the size.
TO FINISH THE MUNTJAC PLATTER:
Cook the muntjac loin: season the whole loin well with salt and black pepper. In a frying pan over a high heat, add the olive oil. When really hot and starting to smoke, add your loin, sear it well on each side for a couple of minutes until it forms a good brown crust, then lower the heat and add the butter/oil, thyme and garlic and baste well for the next 3-4 minutes in the pan, depending on the size of it.
Please do not overcook it; you want it to be medium to medium rare. When you start to see the meat ‘pearl’ with blood, remove the fillet as this means the inside has reached the right temperature for a good ‘medium’ cook. It’s very important to rest the loin on a griddle rack, with a plate or tray underneath. You do not want the meat to be directly in contact with anything like a plate, as it will lose its moisture and texture; you also need air to circulate around the meat. Rest for 6-7 minutes, while you warm up all your other garnishes to dress your plate.
When the meat has rested, slice it, not too thick. Again, do not put it straight on the plate. Add all your slices to the rack for 1 minute to keep warm, then transfer to your plate once all the garnishes and the confit are on it.
Finish by ‘napping’ with the cherry bigarade sauce and drizzle over a little cooking juice from the pan, which will be very tasty.
At the restaurant, we add a few garnishes to enhance the plate like dry cherry powder, cherry gel and a few fancy herbs, but the most important thing is to cook your muntjac with respect, passion and love. Then enjoy it with your hunting friends or family.
Bon appétit – here’s to next time.