SOUR CHERRY SAUCE

This is a delicious "sweet/sour" sauce that is perfect with venison. If you can’t find fresh or frozen sour cherries, use two 75g packets dried sour cherries and soak them in boiling water for 1 hour, then drain and use as per the recipe.

Ingredients

1 garlic clove
1 small shallot
1 small carrot
1 celery stalk
4 sprigs fresh thyme or rosemary
6 juniper berries, crushed
20g butter
200ml/7fl oz red wine
100ml good venison or beef stock
1 tablespoon sour cherry jam or cranberry sauce
300g fresh or frozen sour (morello) cherries, pitted
salt and freshly ground black pepper

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Make the sauce while the venison is resting. Finely chop the garlic, vegetables and herbs together in a food processor. Melt the butter in the pan that the venison was cooked in, and add the vegetables and juniper berries. Fry for 4-5 minutes until beginning to turn golden brown, stirring to prevent them catching and to scrape up the sticky meat juices.

Pour in the wine and boil hard until almost completely evaporated. Add the stock, jam or jelly and sour cherries, bring to the boil and cook to reduce the liquid by half, then pass through a fine sieve into a bowl. Rinse out the pan, pour in the sauce and add the cherries. Bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Taste and check the seasoning. Serve spooned over the venison.

TIP: To prepare the sauce in advance, cook the chopped garlic, herbs and vegetables with the juniper in the butter until soft and golden. Add the wine and reduce until almost all gone. Keep this base and add it to the venison cooking juices once the venison is cooked and resting. Proceed with the recipe by adding the stock etc.

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