Diary of a Foodie

Seared Venison and Kumara Rösti with Creamed Spinach and Cranberry Sauce

Diary of a Foodie: Season Three: Farm to Fork

  • Active time:25 min
  • Start to finish:2 1/2 hr
January 2009
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For Cranberry Sauce

  • 1 1/2 cups dry red wine
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 6 whole allspice
  • 2 (3-inch) cinnamon sticks
  • 1 (2- by 1/2-inch) strip orange zest
  • 1 (8-oz) can or jar whole-berry cranberry sauce
  • 1 (12-oz) bag fresh or frozen cranberries (not thawed)

For Kumara Rösti

  • 1 large kumara (New Zealand sweet potato) or Japanese sweet potato (about 3/4 lb; see cooks' note, below)
  • 1 Gala apple (about 1/2 lb)
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

For creamed spinach

  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 lb baby spinach
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

For venison

  • 1 (2- to 2 1/4-lb) Cervena venison strip loin
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Equipment:

    an ovenproof ridged grill pan

Make Cranberry Sauce:

  • Bring wine to a boil with sugar, spices, and zest in a 2-quart heavy saucepan, stirring until sugar has dissolved, then simmer until mixture is reduced to about 1 cup, 15 to 20 minutes. Strain through a sieve into a bowl, discarding solids, then return to saucepan. Stir in cranberry sauce and cranberries and simmer, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, 20 to 30 minutes. Cool sauce completely, about 1 1/2 hours.

Make Rösti and Spinach:

  • Preheat oven to 400ºF with rack in middle (for venison). Meanwhile, peel kumara and apple and grate on large teardrop-shaped holes of a grater into a medium bowl. Add egg and 1/4 teaspoon salt and toss with a fork.
  • Heat butter in a 10-inch cast-iron or nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until foam subsides. Press kumara mixture into skillet in an even layer using back of a fork and cook over medium-low heat until underside is golden brown, 5 to 8 minutes. Cover skillet with a plate and invert Rösti onto plate. Slide Rösti back into skillet and cook until other side is golden brown, 5 to 8 minutes. Keep warm.
  • Meanwhile, bring water with garlic to a boil in a 4-quart saucepan over medium heat, then add spinach and cook, stirring, until just wilted, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in cream and salt and pepper to taste. Keep warm.

Roast Venison:

  • Rub venison with oil and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt. Heat grill pan until hot, then lightly oil and sear venison, turning once, 4 minutes total. Transfer pan with venison to oven and roast 4 minutes. Turn oven off and let venison stand in oven 5 minutes for medium-rare. Remove from oven and let stand 10 minutes (temperature will rise to 125ºF).

To Serve:

  • Cut Rösti into quarters and divide among 4 plates, then spoon spinach on top. Cut venison into 1/2-inch slices and serve with cranberry sauce.
Cooks' Note: We found the Japanese sweet potato, available at Asian markets and some natural foods stores, to be the best alternative to the kumara, which is unavailable in the States. This recipe does not work with a regular sweet potato.
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