In part 1 of this two parter, I had a go at some of the French living here in Ireland. I need to spread my net wider. A good bit of racism goes a long way and we have plenty of it here in Ireland. My problem isn’t with the dumb-assed outrage at women wearing burkinis or even with the Brits for Brexiting. No, my issue is with the wily way so many of the ‘Bloody Foreigners’ are making it difficult for me to hate them. Let me tell you how the Breton and the Mexicans conspired to confound my natural distaste for anybody from anywhere else.
Firstly, the Breton, Franck. He made his way to Ireland some 22 years ago. He now manages the Sheridan’s Cheese Shop in Pottlereagh, Co. Meath.
He also writes the excellent Hungry Breton blog. When we went to meet Franck, he gave us a tour of the cheese facility and grounds.
They have a wide range of things that go well with cheese, including an eclectic and diverse range of wines.
The Mexicans are the Krause family who have, for some years now been restoring the magnificent Killua Castle in County Westmeath. As you would expect, the Mexicans and the Breton have been conspiring against my natural distaste for them both.
I have never met a Krause. Not only are they investing energy and capital here, but they are employing numerous skilled Irish workers, playing a role in restoring and preserving our Irish heritage. Heritage that would otherwise be lost forever. There is a bizarre political twist to Mexicans paying others to build walls. But, I digress. The castle sits on a pretty big estate. As happens, the deer herd on the estate needed to be culled. This means venison became available. The Krauses consulted with the Breton who suggested that I might have a use for some.The Krauses very generously provided a fine fillet of Irish venison. Franck got in touch and invited us to visit him at Sheridan’s, to collect the meat. How can I hold any distaste for these people? They are causing me difficulties. So all I can do is to cook the fillet as best I can to recognise the generosity and thoughtfulness of these fine folk. I’m not happy. I don’t like foreigners helping me out and being wonderful. Hate needs a home!
I thought that the best thing I could do with a complimentary piece of venison was to cook it and serve it with complementary flavours. So I prepared Venison Fillet Sous Vide with Roasted Parsnip and Amarene Cherries. If you need an excuse for getting a sous vide device, this is it.
Ingredients (for three greedy people)
- 1 venison fillet
- 1 heaped teaspoon of fennel seeds
- 1 heaped teaspoon of red peppercorns
- A few juniper berries
- 2 shallots
- 2 cloves of garlic
- A glass of red wine
- Half a jar of Amarene cherries and the syrup
- A few parsnips
- Salt and pepper
- Good quality olive oil
Dry fry the fennel seeds and add them, the peppercorns and the juniper berries to a mortar.
Bash them with the pestle until you have a powder. Rub the mixture all over the venison fillet.
Vacuum seal it and cook sous vide at 55ºC for an hour. Remove it from the water. Pat dry and fry in some butter on a medium hot pan. This is to add a little flavour and to brown the meat. It colours very quickly as it cooked.
The meat takes just over an hour to prepare. Use that time to make a sauce with the some of the olive oil, shallots, cloves of garlic, glass of red wine and half a jar of Amarene cherries and the syrup. Add the oil to a saucepan and heat to medium. chop and add the shallots and garlic. when they have softened and before they get a chance to brown, add the wine and the syrup from the cherries. Reduce by about one third. Strain into another saucepan and add the cherries. Keep this warm while you prepare the parsnips. Do this by slicing them, drizzling with olive oil, adding salt and pepper. They will cook in a 200ºC oven in under half an hour.
Assemble the dish by slicing the venison into medallions.
Plate up like I show in the picture. Serve it with the remaining wine.
The combination of the slightly gamey venison, earthy parsnips and sweet/sour Amarene cherry sauce was truly outstanding. The wine didn’t do any harm either. It looks like I have to admit that I have some warm feelings for the ‘Bloody Foreigners’ who are enriching our lives here in Ireland. Every time I try to find an excuse to be a small minded bigot, they give me great reason to see the bigger picture. Thank you all. It’s a better place for ye being here.