Venison Steak in a London Porter, Elderberry and Juniper sauce
You could say that me and Juniper berries have previous. That is to say, when I collaborated on a Scottish Ale with Shane from Beerd (Bath Ales craft arm), we used smoked juniper malt and juniper berries in the whirlpool which helped to balance the sweet, dark fruits of the malt; (our efforts won us 1st at the Watford beer festival). I’d also paired juniper with wild boar and found it worked very well. Faced with two newly acquired venison steaks I wanted to give them justice and not just flash fry them and serve it up with some Bisto. I thought I’d try a beer and juniper sauce as I felt certain the flavours would match up nicely.
Over two days I tried two variations a Scottish ale sauce and London Porter sauce. I found the latter worked much better than the former. It could be that the Mallard reaction was much more evident with the Porter and the steak and so they complimented each other well, but I have to say I’m still working on beer and food matching. However, as a leap in my knowledge this experiment worked so well I felt compelled to share it here.
The elderberries were fresh out of the freezer but, as I’m sure not many of you will have elderberries in their freezer, you could use any dark berries or perhaps even some plums.
Two frying pans, wooden spoon, spachelor
300ml London Porter or old ale
10 crushed juniper berries
1 tablespoon Elderberries or other dark fruit
1 tsp Sugar (optional)
2 tsp beef dripping
1 Venison Steak
Pour the ale into a small pan along with the juniper and elderberries and gently bring to the boil. Sprinkle over the sugar, stir and reduce heat to a simmer. Keep simmering and stir frequently (but not constantly) until it has reduce considerably to become a thick coating sauce. This should take about 10-15 minutes .
When the sauce has reduced by half add the dripping to another frying pan and heat on a medium hot heat until it starts to simmer. Add the steak and cook until very lightly browned on each side. I’d suggest no more than two minutes each side and a four minute rest time after cooking.
Serve the steak and pour over the sauce. I’d suggest keeping the other flavours simple, chips worked well but boiled potatoes and carrots did too. Of course you should drink a glass of London Porter whilst eating and make sure you sip the porter with every bite of the steak.