Fortunately, venison is now widely available in this country, and the favorite food-wine match at Taste of the Hudson Valley was Troutbeck’s venison ragout with the 1996 Beaucastel. According to executive chef Robert Timan, "the cherries and sweet potatoes add sweetness to balance the venison’s gaminess."
- 2 pounds venison, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- Salt and pepper
- 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
- 6 cloves garlic, shaved
- 1 1/2 cups red wine
- 2 quarts venison stock (can substitute beef stock)
- 3 medium sweet potatoes, diced
- 5 stalks celery, chopped
- 30 pearl onions, peeled
- 1/2 pound dried cherries
- 1 bunch fresh thyme
- 1 Cortland apple
- 1/2 cup simple syrup (equal amounts sugar and water, heated til sugar dissolves)
- 1/4 cup walnuts, finely crushed
- 4 ounces foie gras, in slices
- 1/4 cup brandy
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
Season venison with salt and pepper and brown on all sides in oil (about 8 minutes total) in a hot Dutch oven. Add garlic and cook about 2 minutes. Deglaze with wine, add stock, and cook on low heat 45 minutes. Add sweet potatoes, celery and pearl onions. Cook another 15 minutes. Add fresh thyme and simmer an additional 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, peel and core apple and slice paper-thin into rings. Brush with simple syrup and walnut dust and bake in low oven until crisp.
For foie gras cream, marinate foie gras in brandy for 2 hours. Remove; pan-sear for 1 minute on each side. Add heavy cream and reduce for 5 minutes. Pour cream and foie gras into blender and purée. Reserve.
Spoon ragout into bowls, garnish with apple rings, and drizzle foie gras cream on top.