Venison with Spätzli and Pears
I felt like cooking a winter dish after spending a weekend in Chicago for Yoko's gallery opening. There are quite a few variations you can do with this dish. This here is just one out of many. Spätzli is a simple flour/egg based dish typical in Switzerland.
for 2 people:
the meat & sauce:
4 venison ribs (or similar amount of venison steaks)
freshly ground pepper and salt for marinade
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon black peppercorns, crushed
1 teaspoon coarse salt, crushed
1 teaspoon juniper berries, crushed
2 cloves, crushed
1-2 tablespoons berry jam (cherry, blackberry or similar)
1 cup red wine
1 teaspoon chicken stock (as always, "Better-Than-Bouillon")
1/4 cup cream
200 g white flour
50 ml water
50 ml milk
freshly ground nutmeg
pinch of salt
2 small pears (not too soft)
1 tablespoon sugar
3/4 cup red wine
Preheat the oven to 200 F.
Marinade the ribs with plenty of freshly ground salt and pepper. Heat the butter in a non-stick skillet and grill the meat on both sides until it's browned nicely (about 1-2 minutes each side). Wrap the meat in aluminum foil and put it into the oven. Before you keep on cooking, let the meat sit in the oven for about 30 minutes.
Put the sugar into the skillet (the one you used to grill the meat) and caramelize it until it thickens over medium heat. Add the red wine, crushed peppercorns, salt, cloves, juniper berries, chicken stock and berry jam. Stir well over high heat until half of the wine has dissolved. Add more wine if necessary. Put aside.
Wash the pears and cut them into quarters lenghtwise. In another skillet, heat the sugar and let it caramelize. Pour in the wine and stir well. Add the pear pieces, cover the skillet and let the pears simmer. By the time all the dishes are ready, the pears should have softened but should still be firm inside and not fall apart.
Prepare the dough for the Spätzli by putting the flour in a bowl. Mix water and milk together in a seperate bowl, add the salt and mix. In another bowl, mix the eggs with a fork and add nutmeg. Slowly add eggs and milk/water mixture to the flour and stir until the dough has become firm. Put the dough onto a flat kitchen plate and with a knife, cut about 1 inch pieces of dough and move them into a big pan of boiling water. Reduce the heat to low and cook the Spätzli for about 5 minutes.
Now, everything has to happen quite quickly in order for all the dishes to be served hot.
Heat up the sauce again and add the cream. Remove the Spätzli from the water by pouring them into a strainer. Remove the meat from the oven and cut the ribs. Place 2 ribs, Spätzli and pears on each serving plate, pour the sauce over Spätzli and venison. Serve immediately.