Venison with Seared Foie Gras

Chef Victor Janssen prepared his version of this dish for us with local red deer venison. Domestic venison, however, makes a fine substitute.

Venison with Seared Foie Gras
This dish is typically made with fresh wild venison, but domestic venison makes a fine substitute.
Yield: serves 4

For the Venison

  • 14 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 12 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
  • 8 juniper berries, cracked
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 4 (5-oz.) medallions trimmed venison loin (each about 1" thick)

For the Foie Gras and Sauce

  • 2 tbsp. canola oil
  • 1 lb. venison bones, cut into 2"–3" pieces
  • 1 tbsp. tomato purée
  • 1 small yellow onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 small carrot, cut into 1⁄3" pieces
  • 1 rib celery, cut into 1⁄3" pieces
  • 1 small leek, trimmed and coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1 tbsp. fresh cranberry sauce
  • 3 juniper berries, cracked
  • 3 whole black peppercorns, cracked
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 7 tbsp. butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 tsp. chopped bittersweet chocolate
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 (2-oz.) slices foie gras, chilled
  • 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

Instructions

  1. For the venison: Purée olive oil, pepper, thyme, juniper berries, garlic, and bay leaves in a blender to make a marinade. Arrange venison in a shallow dish; pour marinade over venison; turn to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 24 hours.
  2. For the sauce: Heat canola oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add bones and cook, stirring occasionally, until deep golden brown in spots, 6–8 minutes. Add tomato purée, onions, carrots, celery, and leeks and cook, stirring, until lightly caramelized, about 5 minutes more. Add wine, cranberry sauce, juniper berries, peppercorns, bay leaf, thyme, and 1 cup water, reduce heat to medium, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until liquid is reduced by two-thirds, about 30 minutes. Strain sauce through a cheesecloth-lined fine-mesh sieve into a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, remove from heat, and whisk in 4 tbsp. of the butter and chocolate, a few pieces at a time, to make a smooth sauce. Season with salt and pepper to taste; keep sauce warm.
  3. Remove venison from marinade and season all over with salt and pepper to taste. Heat remaining 4 tbsp. butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add venison and cook, turning once, until browned and medium rare, 3–4 minutes per side. Transfer venison to a plate. Season foie gras slices all over with salt and pepper to taste. Heat olive oil in a clean large skillet over medium-high heat. Add foie gras slices and cook, turning once, until golden brown, about 1 minute per side. Place a venison medallion in the middle of each of four warm plates, then top each with a slice of foie gras. Generously spoon sauce over the foie gras and venison.