Venison Chops With Shallots and Cumin
Wintry weather and holiday get-togethers require celebratory food to share. Try venison instead of the more common roasts. A rub of cumin and pepper gives these chops warmth, while bacon adds a whiff of smoke and some fat with which to baste the lean meat. This recipe avoids the usual tart-fruit component, so the spices have less competition. Instead, seared shallots go alongside. For venison, the rack is the easiest cut to prepare. and in a hot oven it is quickly done and cut into chops. The meat is hearty and succulent, with the merest hint of gaminess. Be sure to cook it only to medium rare or it will toughen. Since most venison that’s available (unless you know a hunter) is ranch-raised in America or New Zealand and carries a hefty price tag, you do not want disappointment.
- Serves: 4 persons
- 4ounces smoked bacon (4 thick strips)
- 1rack of venison, about 2 1/2 pounds, frenched
- 2teaspoons ground cumin
- 1teaspoon ground black pepper
- 6large shallots, quartered lengthwise
- ½cup beef or veal stock
- ½cup dry red wine
- 1tablespoon grainy mustard
- 1teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
- 1tablespoon soft unsalted butter
Step 1Using a heavy skillet large enough to accommodate the rack of venison, fry the bacon. Drain strips on paper towel. Cut bacon in 1/2-inch pieces and set aside. Brush venison with some of the bacon fat. Leave 1 tablespoon of the bacon fat in the pan and discard the rest. Mix 1 1/2 teaspoons of the cumin with the pepper and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a bowl. Rub the spices on the meat and let rest 1 hour. Cook the shallots in the remaining fat in the pan on medium heat until lightly browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove shallots from the pan and set aside.
Step 2Heat oven to 425 degrees. Using the skillet or another pan big enough to hold the rack of venison, place the venison in the pan, bone side down, and roast 20 minutes. Test with an instant-read thermometer. It should register 115 degrees for medium rare to rare. If more doneness is desired, leave the venison in the oven another 5 minutes. But it will start to toughen if cooked more than medium rare.
Step 3Remove venison from the pan and place on a cutting board to rest while you prepare the sauce. Lightly toast the remaining 1/2 teaspoon cumin in the pan. Add the stock and the wine. Whisk in the mustard and thyme. Cook on medium high until the liquid has reduced to a scant 1/2 cup, just about covering the bottom of the pan. Lower heat and whisk in the butter bit by bit. Add additional salt if desired. Stir in the reserved bacon and shallots.
Step 4Slice the rack into individual chops between the bones and arrange on a platter. Spoon the sauce with the shallots and bacon over the meat and serve.