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Venison Medallions with poached pear and cassis sauce

An impressive-looking dish, which is easy to prepare; the spade work can be completed the day before if necessary - in fact will be better for it - just leaving you to fry the meat at the last minute.

Venison is freely available from supermarkets all the year round. If you can't find a boned saddle (which looks like a sausage and cuts into medallions) a steak cut into individual squares would suffice. In either case, treat the meat as you would a beef steak - although cooking well-done would leave it rather dry.

If you enjoy cooking take a minute to look at ‘Simon Scrutton Cookery Classes’ on Google – and learn how to make top class bistro-style dishes. Suitable for beginners upwards.


For 4 people:
2 Comice pears, slightly on the hard side; peeled, cored and carefully cut into halves
140ml/5 fl oz Heavy Red Wine
1.4 kilo/3lb piece of Saddle of Venison, boned out by your butcher - or the equivalent, see introduction
50g/2oz Butter
1 medium clove of Garlic, peeled and cut in half - any green shoot removed
200ml/7 fl oz cheap Port
1 Bay Leaf
2 tablespoons (60ml) Crème de Cassis or Blackcurrant cordial
1 dessertspoon (10ml) Tomato Purée

Equipment: A stainless steel saucepan big enough to arrange the pears flat


1. Poach the pears in the red wine for 10 minutes, adding a top-up of just enough water to cover them completely. Leave to cool in the liquid.

2. Cut the venison into your desired shape, about 2.5cm/1in thick is ideal. Then wipe the meat with the cut garlic and season with a little pepper. Marinate in Port, with the bay leaf and the cut clove of garlic for a minimum of 2 hours, overnight if preferred.

It can be prepared ahead up to this point

3. Melt half the butter in a wide frying pan, over a medium heat. When it sizzles, seal the venison for 1 minute on each side, the remove it from the pan and keep to one side.

4. Deglaze with the Port marinade, add the cassis, tomato purée, and season with a little salt and pepper. Reduce the sauce until it thickens slightly.

5. While the sauce is bubbling, arrange a pear half - flatside down - on each serving plate.

6. Slice thinly, from the thick end, leaving the fruit attached at the other; then gently press down to form a 'fan shape'. Heat in the oven or microwave for a few second - or until warm.

7. Whisk the remaining butter into your sauce and immerse the meat to heat through.

Serve, nicely arranged, with any vegetables in separate bowls, so as not to spoil the effect.

Recipe taken from 'Foolproof Entertaining' by Simon Scrutton - available from

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