For all of the many wonderful types of cuisine available in the L.A. area, Scandinavian is a food genre where we as a city fall flat. Luckily, our grocery stores overflow with exotic products, making it easy to come by the venison, Norwegian cheese, aquavit and lingonberries needed to make this wintry dish. The recipe is from KCET chef Andres Viestad, who updates Viking recipes for the modern palate. Enjoy!
Juniper-Spiced Venison with Brown Goat Cheese Sauce
Four 1/2-pound venison fillets
8 juniper berries, crushed
1 teaspoon crushed fennel seeds
Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 cup game or beef stock
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 to 1 ounce gjetost or Norwegian fudge cheese (Ski Queen), sliced
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 to 2 tablespoons aquavit
Lingonberry preserves or whole-berry cranberry sauce
Pat the meat dry with paper towels. Combine 6 of the juniper berries, the fennel seeds, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Rub the meat with the spices and place it on a plate. Set aside at room temperature while you make the sauce.
Put the flour in a small bowl and whisk in 1/4 cup of the stock; make sure there are no lumps. Pour into a small saucepan, add another 1/4 cup stock, and bring to a boil, whisking constantly. When the mixture has started to thicken, stir in the remaining 1/2 cup stock and bring to a boil. Add the sour cream and the remaining 2 juniper berries, reduce the heat, and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the brown cheese and stir until melted and incorporated. Set the sauce aside.
Heat the butter in a cast-iron or other heavy skillet over high heat. Sear the fillets for 5 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Transfer the meat to a plate and let rest for 4 to 5 minutes. Return the meat to the skillet and cook for 3 to 4 more minutes, until medium-rare. Let rest for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, add the aquavit to the sauce and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Cut the fillets into 1/2-inch slices and place on four plates. Drizzle the sauce over the meat. Serve immediately, with lingonberry preserves on the side.
Find show times for "New Scandinavian Cooking with Andreas Viestad" here!
[Top photo courtesy Flickr user jennywindow]
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