This recipe, adapted from Singita Boulders executive chef Loraine Pienaar, marries local and international flavors and features springbok, a South African favorite that can be substituted with venison. -SUSAN KOSTRZEWA
Wine recommendation: The sumptuous Meerlust 2006 Rubicon Bordeaux blend, with its cedar smoke, graphite and black fruit flavors, is a delicious accompaniment to the gamy, spicy and bitter chocolate notes in this dish.
For the pistachio stuffing:
Scant 13⁄4 cups shelled pistachio nuts
1 cup medium-bodied red wine
1⁄3 cup plus 11⁄2 tablespoons Ruby Port
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup red wine, medium bodied
1⁄3 cup plus 11⁄2 tablespoons beef stock, preferably homemade
For the springbok or venison loin:
4 (7-ounce) tender filets springbok or venison
4 slices prosciutto, preferably locally made and matured
4 medium baby marrow squash or 2 zucchini
Vegetable oil for frying
For the chocolate jus:
500ml of fresh beef stock
300ml red wine
50ml of red wine vinegar
1 heaped table spoon of cocoa powder
Fry off the mirepoix until softened and lightly golden brown
Deglaze the pot of mirepoix with the vinegar
When cooked dry, add the cocoa powder and mix through dd the red wine and reduce to half on a medium heat (preferably in a wide bodied pan)
Strain through a chinois (conical sieve)
Add the beef stock and reduce to sauce consistency (coating the back of a spoon)
For the squash dumpling recipe:
Pumpkin (preferably a dark yellow firmer type cubed)
300ml reduced to a pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
200g of lightly sifted cake flower
Cook the cubed pumpkin slowly in unsalted water
Puree the pumpkin, return to the pot and reduce to a concentrated flavor and texture
Mix the rest of the ingredients together with the cooled pumpkin puree
Season to taste
Form the dumplings (quenelles by using 2 tablespoons)
If the dumplings do not retain their shape, add more flour 1 tablespoon at a time
Poach directly in salted water until firm
For the pistachio stuffing: In a dry frying pan set over medium-high heat, roast the pistachio nuts for a minute or so until they begin to brown. Remove from the pan and chop roughly. In a saucepan set over medium-high heat, make a glaze with red wine, Port, sugar and stock, cooking just until the sugar has dissolved and the liquid has thickened and coats the back of a spoon. Set aside and keep warm. Mix the glaze with the nuts, tossing lightly so that all the nuts are coated, and set aside to cool.
To prepare the marrow squash or zucchini: Slice each marrow in half on a bias or if you are using zucchini, cut it into rounds or slice it lengthwise into long strips. Heat a lightly salted pan of water to a simmer, carefully add the zucchini and blanche for about 5 minutes or until al dente.
To prepare the loin: Place 1⁄4 of the cooled pistachio stuffing on one of the portions and roll the meat around it to make an oblong parcel. Wrap a slice of prosciutto around it. Repeat with the remaining portions.
To cook the rolled stuffed loin parcels, heat the oil in a large skillet set over medium-high heat until it ripples. Add the stuffed meat in a single layer and pan-fry for 2 to 3 minutes per side. Remove from the pan and let rest for 3 minutes.
Once it has rested, slice the springbok loin into two on the bias and place each portion on a dinner plate. Pour some chocolate jus around each. Place the sliced baby marrows upright in the jus and three dumplings on the side. Serve immediately.