Chef Peter O'Brien offers a recipe that tips its hat to his Irish heritage while giving it a New Mexican sear (from Tasting: Finer Dining, March 2021). Photograph by Douglas Merriam.
Two 10-ounce cuts of Denver leg venison* (or substitute two 8-ounce lamb sirloins)
2 tablespoons olive oil
¼ teaspoon each salt and black pepper
1 onion, peeled and chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
3 celery stalks, peeled and chopped
2 cups dry red wine
½ cup brandy
2 cups rich veal stock (or substitute 1 cup each beef stock and chicken stock)
5 sprigs of fresh thyme and 3 sprigs of fresh rosemary tied together with kitchen twine
1 bay leaf
Vegetable garnish (recipe follows)
Green Chile Colcannon (recipe follows)
Serves 2 – 4
Rub the meat with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Sear in a medium Dutch oven over high heat, browning all sides evenly. Remove meat, add the onion, carrot, and celery, and sauté for a few minutes to brown the vegetables.
Return meat to the pan and add the red wine, brandy, and veal stock. Bring to a slow boil. Add the bundle of herbs and bay leaf.
Lower heat to a simmer and cook, covered, for 20 minutes or until meat is fork tender.
Remove the meat from the pot and strain the liquid into a saucepan. Simmer the sauce over low heat to thicken slightly for an additional 10 minutes.
*Venison is naturally tender; cuts from the leg can be used like steak cuts. Denver Leg is used to describe the collection of boneless cuts from the rump, topside, silverside, and knuckle, trimmed of all fat and silverskin and divided into 7 or 8 steaks. Order from Beck & Bulow, in Santa Fe.
6 baby heirloom carrots, peeled
6 pearl onions
2 tablespoons olive oil
¼ teaspoon each kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Toss the vegetables in oil and season with salt and pepper.
Roast over hot wood coals or grill until nicely browned.
Green Chile Colcannon
4 russet potatoes, peeled and quartered
1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
1 egg yolk
2 poblano chiles, roasted, peeled, and chopped, about ⅔ cup
1 cup baby kale, chopped
2 tablespoons flour
Freshly ground black pepper
Bring ½ gallon water to a boil in a large pot and add salt. Add potatoes and boil until fork tender, about 20 minutes. Drain and push through potato ricer (or a large-meshed sieve).
Mix in the egg yolk, chile, kale, and flour. Season with salt and pepper.
Place the mixture into a piping bag and pipe a moat or bowl shape onto an oven-proof plate. Place the plate in the oven at 350° for 10 minutes.
To serve, slice the venison and place in the middle of the moat/bowl. Place the roasted vegetables around the plate. Spoon the sauce around the vegetables.