With a robust, gamey flavour, venison loin is the perfect alternative to beef in a classic Wellington, and stands up well to the rich mushroom duxelle and buttery puff pastry layers. Andy McLeish recommends using Sika venison if available, and suggests serving with some simple seasonal vegetables.
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Start by searing the venison. Heat the oil in a large frying pan, season the loin with salt and pepper and add to the pan. Turn every 1-2 minutes to colour the loin on all sides, until it is evenyl browned and rare in the centre. Remove from the pan and refrigerate
1 tbsp of vegetable oil
500g of loin of venison, cleaned with sinew removed
For the duxelles, melt the butter in the same pan, add the chopped mushrooms and sauté until golden brown. Remove from the pan and keep to one side
250g of button mushrooms
Add the shallots and chopped garlic to the pan. Cook until soft then add the mushrooms again and cook quickly until the liquid evaporates. Add the Madeira and boil until reduced by half
4 shallots, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
100ml of Madeira
Add the cream and cook until the mixture is thick and beginning to darken. Season with salt and pepper and leave to one side
4 tbsp of double cream
For the pancakes, whisk together the flour, eggs and milk to make a smooth batter
150g of plain flour
140ml of milk
Heat a frying pan and add a drop of oil. Once the oil is hot, pour in a small amount of batter to cover the base in a very thin layer and cook until golden on the underside
Flip the pancake over and cook the other side. Repeat the process again until all of the mixture is used up, keeping the cooked pancakes to one side
Quickly blanch the spinach leaves in boiling water and then cool in iced water. Dry the leaves well
8 large spinach leaves
Lay a sheet of cling film on a board and lay 3 pancakes onto it, overlapping so that they cover the cling film. Lay the spinach leaves on top in a single layer
Spread the mushroom duxelle over the spinach in another even layer and place the venison on top. Roll the pancakes, spinach and mushroom mix around the venison, using the cling film to wrap it tightly. Leave to cool in the fridge, preferably overnight
Roll out the puff pastry into a thin sheet around 1/4 cm thick - if it is pre-rolled it will need to be rolled thinner
400g of puff pastry
Remove the Wellington from the cling film and lay onto the pastry. Brush the edges of the pastry with egg wash and roll up, sealing the edges with egg wash, too. Set aside while you prepare the vegetables
1 egg yolk
1 tbsp of milk
Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4
Place the Wellington into the oven for 20-25 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown. To tell if it is cooked, place a thin metal skewer in the centre of the venison, it should be slightly warm (which means the internal temperature is about 49-52°C)
Remove the Wellington from the oven, rest for at least 10 minutes in a warm place. Slice and serve up onto plates
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