Venison with red onion and beetroot relish

Serves 10

I was sent some delicious venison fillets from Donald Russell (donaldrussell.com) before Christmas, which worked out perfectly for my mini dish party. These are the fillets from under the saddle which are also great in salads. You can serve these pre-cooked nice and rare and warm them through in the oven for a few minutes when you are ready to serve them.

300g venison under-fillets
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
A little vegetable or corn oil for brushing

For the beetroot relish

2tbsp olive oil
1 medium red onion, peeled, halved and finely chopped
4 juniper berries, chopped
1tsp fresh thyme or oregano leaves
2tbsp balsamic vinegar
250g beetroot, cooked, peeled and cut into rough 1cm dice

To make the relish, gently cook the red onion, thyme and chopped juniper berries in the olive oil for 2-3 minutes until soft. Add the balsamic vinegar and beetroot, season and cook for 3-4 minutes with a lid on, stirring every so often. Remove from the heat and keep at room temperature until required.

Meanwhile, heat a heavy frying pan or ribbed griddle and brush with oil. Season the venison fillets and cook on a fairly high heat for 2-3 minutes on each side, keeping them nice and rare.

To serve, spoon the beetroot on to small plates, cut the venison into thickish slices and arrange on top.

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