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Pine-Roasted Rack of Venison With Buckskin Cakes and Red Currant Jus

Todd Gray, Equinox

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Serves four

2 tablespoons grapeseed oil (or vegetable oil)
1 rack of venison (about 2 pounds), trimmed (scraps reserved)
1 large bunch Blue Spruce pine branches
1/4 cups shallots, sliced
1/2 cups venison scraps
1/2 cup red wine
1 cup cassis liquor, plus more to taste
1 cup veal glace or demi glace
1/2 cup dried red currants (or dried cranberries)
1 pint fresh red currants (or dried cranberries)
1 tablespoon olive oil

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Heat the grapeseed oil in a pan set over medium-high heat. Sear the venison rack until it’s golden brown—about five minutes on each side. Turn the venison onto a roasting rack lined with pine branches and roast in the oven for about 30 minutes or until the meat is medium-rare.

In a medium pan set over medium heat, sweat the shallots and venison scraps in olive oil for two minutes or until shallots are tender. Deglaze the pan with red wine and cassis liquor, let reduce by 3/4, and add the veal glace and dried currants. Let the sauce come to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes. Strain; stir in the fresh red currants and additional cassis liquor to taste. Keep warm.

Cut the venison into chops and serve with red-currant jus and a slice of buckskin cake.
Buckskin Cakes
Yields nine-inch square pan

1 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup hazelnut flour
1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs
1 1/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup melted butter
3/4 cup hazelnuts, toasted and ground

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Line the bottom of a nine-inch square pan with parchment paper. In a large mixing bowl, combine all the dry ingredients except the ground hazelnuts. In a separate mixing bowl, combine eggs, buttermilk, and butter. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet and mix well. Stir in the ground nuts. Pour the mixture into the baking pan and bake until golden brown, about 20 to 30 minutes.