Michael Smith’s collops of Highland Venison with pearl barley risotto, wild mushroom and Isle of Skye whisky cream sauce
4 slices of venison loin (similar in size and shape to fillet steaks)
Olive oil and butter (for cooking meat and mushrooms)
250 ml (9fl oz) fresh double cream
125 ml (4 1/2 oz) Isle of Skye 8-year old blended whisky plus 1 extra tbsp
150g (5 oz) mixed exotic, or wild mushrooms, washed and sliced
200g (7 oz) pearl barley
2tbs olive oil1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 medium leek, finely chopped
50g (2 oz) plump golden sultanas
50g (2 oz) pine nuts
Zest of 1 small orange
1 tsp lemon thyme, finely chopped
750 ml (1 pt 3 fl oz) light vegetable stock
Ground sea salt and black pepper
For the pearl barley risotto
The night before, put the golden sultanas in a small bowl, cover with 1 tbsp whisky, cover and leave to soak.
Place the pearl barley in a sieve and run it under cold water until the water runs clear. Set aside to drain.
Finely chop onion and leek. Zest the orange rind, de-stalk and roughly chop the lemon thyme. In a fairly large wide saucepan, heat 2 tbsp olive oil. Add the washed pearl barley and turn in the oil over a medium heat until it is beginning to colour. Add the onion and leek and stir together with the pearl barley. Cook gently until onion and leek are soft.
Add the orange rind, the whisky soaked sultanas and the lemon thyme. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the pine nuts and stir together well. Pour in the hot stock and bring back to the boil.
Reduce heat and simmer until all the liquid is absorbed and the barley is cooked al dente.
Set aside pearl barley mixture and keep warm.
For the venison
Bring to room temperature and season well on both sides with freshly ground black pepper and sea salt. heat 1 tbsp olive oil and 50g (2 oz) unsalted butter in a thick-based non-stick frying pan. Sauté the prepared mushrooms until just cooked, season with salt and pepper and set aside in a warm place.
Wipe the pan and add a further 2 tbsp olive oil and heat. Quickly seal the venison inthe hot oil intil beginning to colour through the centre of the meat (this will take around 3 minutes). Turn over the collops ans seal the other side. Cook for a further minute and add the unsalted butter.
Lift the collops from the hot pan, place on a warm dish and leave to rest in a warm place. Add the whisky to the hot buttery pan and ‘flame’ to burn off the alcohol.
When the flames die down, add half the double cream, bring back to boiling point and reduce heat for a few minutes while the cream thickens. Return the cooked mushrooms to the cream sauce and stir. Add seasoning to taste.
Reheat the pearl barley risotto with the remaining cream on a low heat in a covered dish in the microwave. Place some on each preheated serving plate to make a ‘bed’ for the venison.
Place the venison collops on top.
Spoon the sauce over the meat and around the pearl barley. Serve with lightly cooked shredded curly kale, savoy cabbage, or other seasonal vegetables.
To find out more about Michael Smith visit skyechef.co