As you may remember, back in the autumn Journal Taste reported on the launch of four unique food trails aimed at encouraging people to take a fresh new look at County Durham and Northumberland’s rich cultural, historical and geographical offerings.
Then a couple of weeks ago, we revealed that a series of recipes had been pulled together by the group behind the tasty trails.
Featuring chefs working at cafes, restaurants, hotels and bed and breakfasts in Durham and Northumberland, the hope is to encourage people to not only eat in the natural beauty of the North East, but to appreciate the high-quality local produce and eateries this region has to offer.
There are 14 recipes in total and over the coming weeks, Journal Taste will be featuring each of the locally-inspired recipes for you to try at home.
To kick things off, chef David Barella of The Bamburgh Castle Inn at Seahouses, is inviting you to add some local flavour to your weekend by cooking up a storm with this seasonal venison recipe.
Loin of Northumberland Venison with fondant potato, bacon and chestnut sprouts with a red currant and mead sauce
Created by David Barella and served at The Bamburgh Castle Inn, Seahouses (Serves: 2)
2 venison loin trimmed (110g to 170g in size)
1 baking potato – Maris Piper or King Edward
426 ml chicken stock
2 knobs salted English butter
20 button sprouts
5 cooked chestnuts crumbled into chunky pieces
2 bacon rashers, diced – local, home cured is best
20g redcurrant jelly
2 tbsp Lindisfarne Mead
Salt and pepper
Peel the potato, cut in half and shape so they are barrel-shaped (you can use a cookie cutter). Trim the bottom so they stand flat.
Place the potatoes in a deep tray or pan and fill with the chicken stock until it reaches three quarters of the way up the potatoes. Melt half of the butter and brush the potatoes with this before seasoning with salt and pepper. Place into a preheated oven at 180°C for 40 minutes, brushing the potatoes with melted butter every 10 minutes or so and when they come out of the oven.
Blanch the sprouts in boiling water for a couple of minutes before plunging into chilled water. Drain and set aside.
Heat a dash of olive oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Add a knob of butter and fry the bacon until crisp and golden. Set aside and wipe out the frying pan.
Place an ovenproof frying pan over a medium to high heat. When hot add 1 tbsp olive oil. When the oil is sizzling add the venison loins, seasoning with salt and pepper and let the meat seal by browning for a minute or so.
Turn the venison steaks and repeat. Add a knob of butter and place the ovenproof frying pan into the oven at 170°C for eight to 10 minutes. Remove from the oven, then lift the steaks out and allow these to rest on a warm plate.
Return the sprouts whole (if small or halved if large) and the crumbled chestnuts to the frying pan with a little more butter and fry over a medium heat for a few minutes until warmed through.
Deglaze the venison pan with the Lindisfarne Mead, add the redcurrant jelly and reduce to make the sauce. Add a little more Mead if the sauce becomes too thick.
To assemble the dish, place the fondant potato in the bowl to the back. Add the sprout and chestnut mix to the right and pour the sauce into the bowl – but don’t drown it! Slice the venison and let it overlap around the front of the dish.
* So why not continue the gastronomic journey through the region by downloading the trails from www.thisisdurham.com/eat/food-trails or picking one up from a Tourist Information Centre?