Thursday, January 19, 2017

Venison Fennel & Lentils Topped with Baby Beet & Feta Relish

By: The Food Hunter

It's been a few weeks and my mom is still talking about the amazing Christmas dinner she had at our house (her words). This year, once again, we decided to deviate from the traditional ham and turkey and cook a venison strip loin I received from Marx Food as part of their Game Meat Sampler Kit.

I have to admit that this time mom is right; our Christmas dinner was stellar. Rich in flavor and extremely tender, this cut of meat is known to be one of the most delicious cuts of venison you can get.

We prepared the meal using a recipe found online by Al Brown: Oven Roasted Venison with Fennel, Lentils and Beetroot, Feta Relish. I initially wasn't sure about the combination of flavors but must tell you it all meshed together perfectly.

Venison Fennel & Lentils Topped with Baby Beet Relish

For the baby beets, feta & basil relish
1 bunch baby beets, leafy tops trimmed off
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup water
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh basil, torn
1/2 cup feta, coarsely crumbled
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 350°. Place the beets in a small ovenproof dish and pour the olive oil and water over. Cover with tinfoil and roast for 1 hour or until the beets are soft. Remove from oven, peel and chop into small dice.

In a medium bowl place the vinegar and sugar then whisk in the olive oil. Add the beets along with the basil and feta. Stir to combine, season with sea salt and pepper, and reserve at room temperature.

For the caramelized fennel & lentils
1/3 cup olive oil
2-3 fennel bulb, finely diced (reserve the fronds)
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
1/2 tablespoon ground fennel
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup lentils
4 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Place a frying pan on medium heat. Once hot, add the oil then the fennel, onion and garlic. Reduce the heat to low, and fry gently for 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft and golden. Season and reserve.

In a medium saucepan place the lentils and chicken stock. Place on the stovetop and bring to a rolling boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the lentils have absorbed all the stock and are just soft to the bite (about 30 minutes). If they are still too hard and there is no stock left, add a little water and continue to cook until just soft.

Remove the lentils from the heat. Stir in the fennel and the olive oil. Add the reserved fennel fronds. Season to taste. Keep warm.

For the venison
1 venison striploin
1 cup beef demiglaze
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
olive oil

Preheat the oven to 350°C. Bring the venison to room temperature. Place the demiglaze in a small saucepan over low heat to bring up to a slow simmer.

Season the venison liberally. Place an oven proof skillet on high heat. Once the skillet is hot, add a little oil followed immediately by the venison. Cook for 1-2 minutes on all sides until browned then transfer the dish to the oven.

Finish cooking in the oven for 5-7 minutes. Rest the venison in a warm place for 5 minutes.

To serve
Spoon some of the lentils onto the center of 6 warm plates. Slice the venison into thin slices and arrange 3 pieces on each plate. Top with the relish, and pour a little demiglaze on each.

I received product &/or compensation for this post. As always, all opinions are 100% my own


  1. What a great combination of flavors. I love venison!

  2. that relish sounds amazing - full of all of my favorite flavors

  3. Wow, so much amazingness in this recipe. I love the fennel/lentil part.

  4. This is such an interesting and flavorful recipe. I absolutely love caramelized fennel!

  5. I have yet to try venison. Lots of flavours in this dish. Sounds like they would go so well together.

  6. I love venison and this looks like such a great combination!

  7. This looks so flavorful, I want a bite right now!