This dish takes some time but is visually stunning, and a crowd pleaser on a cold winter evening. One of my favorite dishes for holiday entertaining.
serves: 6-8 difficulty: complex prep time: 1 1/2 hours
For the roulade
- 1 8-inch piece of venison loin
- 24 thin slices of bacon (get a butcher to slice bacon thinly from a slab rather than buying packaged one which is too thick for this purpose. You want the bacon to be slightly thicker than prosciutto slices)
- 3 tbs canola or vegetable oil
- 1 cup pistachios
- 2 tbs diced shallots
- 2 tbs port wine
- 1 tbs nut flavored oil (pistachio, walnut) or olive oil as substitute
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp black pepper
For the sauce
- 2 tbs canola or vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup diced shallots
- 1 garlic clove
- 5 sprigs of thyme
- 3 bay leaves
- 8 -10 juniper berries, crushed
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves or 1 whole clove
- 1/4 cup gin
- 1 cup port wine
- 1 cup chicken, veal or beef stock
- [optional] 10-12 dried sour cherries
Start by butterflying the venison loin – which means that you are trying to turn the cylindrical piece of meat into a flat patty. You do it by carefully slicing the meat lengthwise – from one end to the other – to about 2/3 the diameter of the cylinder. Be very careful not to slice through to the other end of the cylinder.
Season the meat with salt and pepper. Then with a meat tenderizer, pound the meat until is it flattened and tenderized.
You can let the meat rest while you are preparing the pistachio stuffing. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the pistachios in a parchment-lined sheet pan and bake them in the oven for 8 min. Alternatively you can place the pistachios in a fry pan (with no oil), and roast them on the burner for 3-5 min while stirring them constantly (so that they don’t burn on one side). When the pistachios cool off, put them in the food processor together with the shallots, port wine, and any nut flavored or olive oil, and pulse until the mixture forms a coarse paste. Season with salt and pepper.
Now you are ready to make the roulade. Tear off a foot-long piece of plastic wrap and lay it out on a flat surface. Then take the first 12 bacon strips and start arranging them on the plastic wrap while slightly overlapping them.
The with remaining 12 strip create another row while slightly overlapping with the first row.
Then place the tenderized venison at the bottom of the bacon arrangement.
And spoon the pistachio puree lengthwise in the bottom 1/3 of the venison.
Start rolling the venison loin from the bottom edge in order to form a roll.
Lift the bottom part of the plastic wrap, and start rolling the bacon in order to wrap the venison roll with the bacon.
Once you have formed the roulade, tie it with kitchen twine every inch or so.
Wrap the entire roulade in the plastic wrap, and twist both ends to tighten it. Tie both ends with kitchen twine. Now you should have a nice salami!
Place it in the fridge until you are ready to finish and serve.
In the meantime, prepare the sauce. In a heavy saucepan, heat the oil and sauté the shallots and garlic until golden. Add thyme, bay leaves, juniper berries and sauté for another minute. Add the gin, port wine and stock and bring to a boil.
Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the liquid is reduced to a 1bout 1/3 cup. Remove from the heat and strain. Optionally, add a few dried sour cherries.
To finish the dish, heat 2 tsp canola or vegetable oil in a fry pan large enough to fit the roulade. Take the roulade out of the fridge, unwrap the plastic wrap, and place in the heated pan. Fry until the bacon is cooked on all sides by turning the roulade.
Remove the roulade from the pan, remove the kitchen twine and slice the roulade into 1/2 to 3/4 inch slices.
To plate, spoon some sauce on the bottom of the plate, and place two slices of roulade on top of it. Pair with a full bodied red – like Bordeaux (Chateau Rauzan-Segla Margaux, Chateau Pontet-Canet Pauillac), Cabernet Sauvignon (my favorites are Fisher Coach Insignia, Corison, Bond Matriarch), Merlot or blend (Justin Isosceles).