Father's Day recipes: Venison chops, potato gratin, and brownies
Show your love this Father's Day by treating dad to a hearty home-made meal
Text Susan Jung / Photography Jonathan Wong / Styling Nellie Ming Lee
Father's Day receives short shrift compared with Mother's Day: nobody was exhorting us to buy chocolates and jewellery for dear old dad the way they did for mom. But that doesn't mean you can't show your appreciation for your father by cooking him a delicious meal.
Pan-fried venison chops with red wine, port and red currant sauce (pictured)
Venison is a lean meat, and needs to be served very rare, otherwise it will be tough and dry.
6 venison chops, about 140 grams each and 1.5cm thick
Olive oil, as needed
120ml red wine
6 juniper berries, lightly crushed
10 whole black peppercorns
3-4 garlic cloves, crushed with the side of a cleaver
1-2 bay leaves, each one torn into a few pieces
2-3 shallots, finely chopped
100ml unsalted chicken broth, preferably home-made
About 50 grams red currant jam or jelly
20ml red wine vinegar
About 30 grams cold butter
Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Sprinkle salt over the venison chops and leave them at room temperature for about an hour. Combine 30ml of olive oil with the red wine, port, juniper berries, peppercorns, garlic and bay leaves. Pour this over the meat then refrigerate for a few hours. Remove from the fridge about an hour before you plan to eat. Take the meat from the marinade and pat dry each chop with paper towels. Pour the marinade through a sieve; discard the solids but reserve the liquid.
Heat 20ml of olive oil in a saucepan. Add the shallot and cook over a low flame until soft. Increase the flame then add the marinade and the chicken broth and bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring often, until the liquid has reduced by half. Set this aside.
Heat a skillet until it's very hot, then coat it with olive oil. Sear the venison chops, turning them over once, and cook them so they are rare to medium-rare inside (about two minutes on each side). Take them from the pan, put them on warm serving plates then set them aside to rest for a few minutes while preparing the sauce.
Pour the marinade and chicken broth reduction into the same skillet used to cook the venison chops (no need to wash it). Use a whisk to scrape up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the red currant jam or jelly and the red wine vinegar, then season with salt and pepper. Simmer until it has a light sauce consistency. Taste for seasonings and adjust if needed - if it's too acidic, add more red currant jam or jelly. Take the pan from the heat, add the butter and swirl it in until melted. Spoon the sauce over the venison chops and serve.
This is something I make often to accompany lean meat dishes that don't have much sauce, such as venison chops.
For this dish, I use the thin-skinned local variety of potato, which is good at absorbing cream while keeping its shape.
2-3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
A pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
About 25 grams freshly grated parmesan
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Peel the potatoes then slice them about 3mm thick. Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil, add the potato slices and cook for about two minutes. Drain the potatoes, then put them immediately into a round baking dish that's about 25cm in diameter and 3cm deep. Shake the pan so the potatoes are in an evenly thick layer; if you like, arrange the top layer of slices in concentric circles.
Pour the cream into a saucepan, add the garlic and nutmeg, then season with salt and pepper. Stir well then bring to a simmer and cook for about a minute. Pour the cream over the potato, leaving the garlic behind in the saucepan. Sprinkle parmesan cheese evenly over the potato. Bake for about an hour, or until the potato slices are tender and have absorbed most of the cream.
200 grams unsalted butter
250 grams bittersweet chocolate (I use Lindt Excellence, which has 70 per cent cacao content), finely chopped
200 grams granulated sugar
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
3 large eggs, at room temperature
130 grams plain (all-purpose) flour
80 grams pecans or walnuts, roughly chopped
Use pan coating to lightly spray a baking tray that's about 20cm square and 3cm deep. Smoothly line the bottom and sides of the pan with aluminium foil. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
Cut the butter into chunks, put them into a measuring cup, put a paper towel over the cup and microwave until melted and hot (the paper towel will catch the splatter). Pour the butter over the chocolate in a mixing bowl and use a whisk to stir the ingredients until smooth. Whisk in the sugar and salt. Add the eggs one at a time, whisking them in until combined. Add the flour all at once and stir with a rubber spatula until thoroughly combined, then stir in the nuts. Scrape the mixture into the baking tray and bake at 180 degrees for 10 minutes. Turn the heat to 160 degrees and bake until the brownies are fragrant, matte on the surface and have started to pull away from the sides of the pan (about 20 more minutes).
Cool the brownies in the pan then turn them out onto a cutting board and remove the foil. Cut the brownies while they're upside down, then turn them right-side up and put them on a plate.