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Seasonal Cooking with David Mc Cann - Venison Burgers & Roast Loin of Venison

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Lots of people have started growing their own veg and fruit in these recessionary times! They might have garden full of tomatoes or blackberries at the moment but not have a clue what to do with them. Seasonal food is often cheaper to buy and tastes better.

David Mc Cann- Executive chef at Dromoland Castle

Executive Chef, David McCann has been at Dromoland Castle since 1995 and has been the cornerstone of Dromoland Castle's worldwide reputation for the unique dining experience that is Earl of Thomond Restaurant.

Following formal training at the Catering College at the CERT Centre in Killarney, he started his professional career with The Shelbourne Hotel, Dublin, where he strengthened his foundations in Classical French Cooking.

He then worked with the late, Chef Michael Clifford in one of Dublin's leading restaurants "Whites On The Green" Restaurant before eventually moving to London. He spent the following year at one of London's most famous Restaurants of that time, the Mirabelle in Curzon Street, under the guidance of Executive Head Chef, Herbert Berger.

In order to excel professionally, David started as a commis Chef at the world-famous Connaught Hotel in London's Mayfair. During his time there, he worked in every department of the well structured kitchen finally achieving just reward by a promotion to Sous Chef to Michael Bourdin.

David was awarded the Award of Excellence by the Academe Culiniere de France 1992 , the following year He reached the final of the U.K. "Chef of the Year".That year he won the U.K. final of the world famous Grand Prix Pierre Taittinger Competition and represented the the International competition in Paris.

Dromoland Castle was successful in recruiting David McCann as Executive Chef in 1995.The Earl of Thomond Restaurant at Dromoland Castle Received the Wedgwood fine dinning award in 1995 He has represented Ireland in the final of the Wedgwood Chef & Potter Competition in London in 1996 and regained the Egon Ronay Star for Dromoland in 1997. The restaurant also won the dessert of the Year, that year.The restaurant was voted best regional restaurant by David's peers in the industry in 2004.Dromoland was also voted best 5 star hotel by the AA for 2005/.

David has cooked for Many Famous dignitaries including members of the Royal family during his time in London, Heads of state including Bill Clinton, George Bush and Nelson Mandela at Dromoland. David is pivotal to Dromoland Castle's development over the years and worldwide success with his unique style, using locally sourced product fused with Classical European cuisine.

'Chef' as he is better known as, has trained many young apprentices through the apprentice system he introduced in the late nineties. You may find one heading up kitchens as far a field as Australia! 'Chef' believed 'I could never see myself staying in the one job for so many years, however I found myself, fortunately, surrounded by quality people who are professional and have a genuine love for the hotel and food.
What more could he ask for!

Venison burgers with red pepper and onion salsa: economical option

4 Portions

For the compound butter

. 50g butter
. 2 crushed juniper berries
. Pinch parsley / sage chopped
. 1 clove garlic puree
. 10 green peppercorns pureed

Soften the butter (do not melt) add all the ingredients and mix well.
2. Place on Greaseproof paper and roll into a cylinder 1-2 cm in diameter
3. Refrigerate.
4. When firm, slice into chunks.

For the burgers

. 8oog minced venison (haunch/shoulder)
. ½ lime zest
. Seasoning

Lightly season the mince and mix in the zest.
2. Separate into four 200g balls of mince.
3. Use a ring or pastry cutter and mould half of each ball into the ring.
4. Place a piece of prepared butter in the centre and cover with the other half of minced venison, mould into a burger shape.
5. Repeat for the remainder of the minced venison.
6. To cook the burgers, shallow fry in sunflower oil for 3mins on each side.
7. Please keep medium rare for venison is very dry when cooked well done.

If you only will eat well done meat replace 200g of minced venison with the same quantity of minced pork and cook through.

For the salsa

(best to make 1hr in advance)


. 2 large red onion finely diced
. grated granny smith apple
. 2tsp brown sugar
. red chilli finely diced
. 100mls cider vinegar
. Dash olive oil
. Dash soy sauce
. Drop toasted sesame seed oil
. Drop lime juice

1 In a sauce pan heat the vinegar and sugar
2 Reduce to a light syrup and remove from the heat.
3 Next add the soy sauce, then the onion, chilli and apple, mix well.
4 Finish the salsa with the olive oil and sesame oil and finally the lime juice
5 Correct the seasoning.
6 Leave to rest at room temperature.

To finish

. 4 burger buns, good quality
. 4tsp mayonnaise
. 1tsp prepared horseradish sauce
. 4 slices of St. Bridget's cheese

1 Cut the buns in half and toast.
2 Mix the mayo and horseradish together and spread on the toasted buns.
3 Place the venison burgers on the base bun, the cheese next and melt,
4 Add the salsa and the top of the bun.
5 Skewer with your favourite pickles and serve with chips and salad.

Roast Loin of venison, soured cabbage, blackcurrant sauce

For the cabbage

. 1tbsp Duck fat or olive oil
. 1 medium onion finely diced
. ¼ head white cabbage, thinly sliced
. 1 clove of garlic
. Sprig thyme
. 1 bay leaf
. 4 juniper berries
. 1dl white wine vinegar
. 30g sugar
. 3dl white wine

1 Melt the duck fat in a large pot, add the onion and fry without colour.
2 Crush the garlic and add to the pot along with the white shredded cabbage,
3 Continue to sweat without colour.
4 Next add the remainder of ingredients.
5 Bring to the boil and simmer, stirring occasionally.
6 Until all the liquid has evaporated, correct the seasoning.
7 Keep warm!

For the venison

. 4 x 200g loin of venison, completely stripped from fat and sinew
. 3 slices of bread, dried
. small clove of garlic
. 1tsp dried onions
. Pinch chopped rosemary leaves
. Pinch picked thyme leaves

1 Blend the bread, garlic, onion and herbs to a dust in a liquidizer.
2 Season with salt and pepper.
3 Coat each piece of venison in the crumb mixture.
4 Heat some olive in a heavy pan and colour the venison on all sides.
5 Place in a pre-heated oven (180 celsius) for 12 mins for medium.
6 baste occasionally and turn.
7 Remove and allow to rest. (keep the pan for the sauce)

For the sauce

. 4tsp blackcurrants
. Dash crème de cassis
. 2dl venison or beef stock
. 1 knob of butter

1 While the pan is still hot add the stock and reduce by half.
2 Add the berries and the crème de cassis.
3 Bring to the boil simmer for 3mins
4 Add the butter and return to a boil.
5 Correct the seasoning and consistency.

To Serve
1 Carve the loin of venison thinly.
2 Place a spoon of the soured cabbage in the centre of the warmed plates.
3 Arrange the slices of venison on top and dress with the blackcurrant sauce.

Venison Facts
. Lower in fat than a skinned breast of chicken!
. Higher in iron than any other red meat
. Contain omega 3, usually found in fish!
. Low in cholesterol

David McCann