Venison in red-eye gravy with persimmons

Venison in red-eye gravy with persimmons

By
From
Deep South
Serves
4
Photographer
Andy Sewell

In late autumn, wild persimmons begin to hit their ripening peak in the South. This takes place just as the deer-hunting season is opening up, so naturally the two make a great pairing on the plate. Cooking these ingredients together creates a transitional bridge between harvest season and the approaching winter.

Persimmons have to be fully ripe before eating, otherwise they are acrid and unpleasantly tannic. If you are fortunate enough to be able to pick your own, choose unblemished fruit that has fallen from the tree. The flesh should be squishy and the skin a little wrinkled. If all else fails, take a bite. There isn’t a grey area when it comes to the edibility of this fruit.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
1kg boned venison haunch
1 litre see method for ingredients
50g lard or bacon fat
50g unsalted butter
a sprig thyme
1 garlic clove, crushed
4 ripe persimmons, peeled and sliced into thin wafers, preferably a kaki variety

For the red-eye gravy:

Quantity Ingredient
1.5 litres see method for ingredients, venison stock
20g ground coffee beans, as for filter coffee
15g unsalted butter
100g Rusty’s country ham, diced
or 100g serrano ham, diced
lemon juice
freshly ground black pepper

Method

  1. Put the venison in a dish, pour over the brine, then cover and leave in the fridge for 12 hours. Remove and pat dry.
  2. Melt the lard or bacon fat in a large cast-iron frying pan over a medium-high heat. Add the venison and sear until well coloured on all sides. Transfer to an oven heated to 200°C and roast for 8–10 minutes, until the internal temperature reaches 52–53°C, turning the meat frequently. Remove from the oven and place on the hob. Add the butter, thyme and garlic to the pan and baste the haunch over a medium heat for a few minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to rest for about 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, make the gravy. Boil the stock until reduced to 500ml. Remove from the heat, stir in the coffee and leave to infuse for 4 minutes. Strain through a fine sieve. Heat the butter in a frying pan, add the country ham and cook until lightly browned. Pour off the excess fat and add the reduced stock to the pan, stirring and scraping with a wooden spoon to deglaze. Season with lemon juice and black pepper.
  4. To serve, carve the venison against the grain and place on plates. Arrange the persimmon slices and pour over a little gravy.
Tags:
American
Southern cooking
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