Cookbook Profile

Pistachio-Crusted Venison
with Caramelized Quince & Red Cabbage

Pistachio-Crusted Venison with Caramelized Quince & Red Cabbage

Serves 6


Some of the best venison comes from farm-raised Red Deer, which are larger than other deer breeds and related to the American elk. The flavor of venison is less assertive than lamb but more distinctive than beef.



Caramelized Quince


Season the venison

Combine the fennel seeds, juniper berries, allspice, and peppercorns in a sauté pan over medium heat. Toast the spices until fragrant, about 1 minute, and then transfer to a spice grinder. Add the rosemary and process until finely ground. Season the venison chops evenly with the spice blend. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours. The venison should be at room temperature when you cook it, so remove it from the refrigerator at least 30 minutes prior to cooking.

Prepare the cabbage

Slice the cabbage into 1/4-inch-wide ribbons and place in a large bowl. Peel the beet and grate it on the large holes of a box grater. Add the grated beet, vinegar, and sugar to the cabbage and mix until well combined. Set aside for 30 minutes.

Melt 3 tablespoons of the butter in a large deep sauté pan over medium heat.

Add the onion and sauté until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add the marinated cabbage mixture and bouquet garni and cook for 10 minutes. Add the orange juice and wine and simmer until the cabbage is tender and the liquid has reduced by half, about 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper and stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter.

Caramelize the quince

Heat the canola oil in a large sauté pan over high heat. Combine the quince and sugar in a medium bowl and toss to coat. Immediately add the quince to the pan and sear for 2 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and cook until the quince is evenly browned. about 2 minutes. Pour out any excess oil.

With the pan off the heat, deglaze with the brandy, being careful as it might flame. Add 1 tablespoon of water and swirl the pan to evenly glaze the quince.

Cook the venison

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Wrap the venison bones with aluminum foil to keep them from burning and season the meat with salt. Heat the oil in a very large ovenproof sauté pan over high heat. Sear the venison until brown on all sides, about 1 minute per side. Roast the venison in the oven until cooked to medium-rare doneness, about 8 minutes. To test for doneness, insert an instant-read thermometer into the thickest section of the chop. For medium-rare doneness the temperature reading should be 140 degrees to 150 degrees F. Remove the venison from the pan, reserving the pan for later use.

Brush the venison with the honey and roll in the pistachios to coat. Place the venison chops on a platter and tent with aluminum foil to keep warm.

Make the sauce

Melt the butter in the reserved sauté pan over medium heat. Add the shallots and rosemary and cook until the shallots are tender but not brown, about 2 minutes. Deglaze with the wine and port, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan to incorporate into the sauce, and simmer until the alcohol has evaporated, about 1 minute. Add the orange juice and cook until the sauce begins to thicken, about 2 minutes.

To serve

Spoon the cabbage onto a large platter. Arrange the venison chops over the cabbage and nestle the caramelized quince next to the venison. Spoon the sauce over and serve immediately.

Wine suggestion

Serve this dish with a plumy Merlot that offers flavors of red currants, spice, and velvety tannins. Such as Merlot, Bravante, 2005, Howell Mountain, California.


Buy Fresh from the Market: Seasonal Cooking


Fresh from the Market: Seasonal Cooking


This page created November 2010