Roast Venison with quince-roasted pear, beetroot & eschalot

Recipe developed by Anna Last - Food Editor, Australian Vogue & Entertaining June/July 2004.

3 x 400 gm venison tenderloin fillets
extra virgin olive oil
1 red onion, peeled & diced
1 carrot, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 cup red wine
4 sprigs thyme
1 clove garlic, peeled & chopped
4 juniper berries, crushed
3 tablespoons red currant jelly
1 teaspoon ground cumin
long strip orange zest
sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
24 baby beetroot, trimmed
3 tablespoons quince paste
4 Corella pears, peeled, cored & quartered
12 eschalots, peeled
1 cup good quality beef or veal stock

Place the venison in a large porcelain dish. Heat a little olive oil in a heavy-based frying pan & cook the onion, carrot & celery until softened. Add the ingredients up to and including the orange zest and season to taste. Stir to mix well. Bring to boil than remove from heat and put aside to cool. Pour this over the venison, cover and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Wrap each beetroot in aluminium foil and roast for 1 to 11/2 hours until tender. Unwrap and peel the beetroot (the skin will peel off easily). Set aside in a baking dish.

In a bowl, mix the quince paste with a little hot water to soften, then add the pears tossing to coat in the paste. Place at one end of a well oiled baking dish. Place the eschalots at the other end and add a little more olive oil. Remove the venison from the marinade and pat dry. Place the marinade in a saucepan with the stock and reduce until it thickens to a sauce-like consistency. Strain and keep warm until ready to serve.

Meanwhile, heat a little olive oil in a heavy based frying pan and sear the venison tenderloins on all sides. Place the venison in the baking tray and bake for 25- 30 minutes. At 20 minutes, place the beetroot in the oven to warm through. Remove the venison and rest for 5 minutes under loose foil. Slice through as medallions.

To serve, prepare a potato gratin and place venison slices on top of the potato and drizzle with sauce. Serve with the beetroot, pears and eschalots.

Serves 8.