Noisettes of Axis Deer with Juniper Prune Sauce

"New from the Kitchen"
Recipe of the Month - November 2008

Entrees: Noisettes of Axis Deer with Juniper Prune Sauce

A good friend of ours is a big game hunter and several years ago brought me tenderloins from a Cosican Ram, Black Buck Antelope , a Black Hawaiian Sheep and an Axis deer with a challenge to prepare a “gourmet” wild game dinner. With 14 people, a different preparation for each meat and lots of wine we had a memorable evening. The recipe for Noisettes of Axis Deer with juniper prune sauce, which I found years ago in a Meat Cookbook by Jack Ubaldi, was a particular hit. With fall being a time when venison is plentiful I thought you might like this recipe for a intimate chilly evening dinner with friends. If you do not have access to venison, pork tenderloin works very well as a substitute.

12 large dried, pitted prunes
Madeira wine to cover prunes
1 boneless tenderloin of venison, cut into 12 noisettes 1 ½ inches thick, about 3 -4 pounds
12 juniper berries crushed
1 lemon zest cut into julienne strips
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Olive oil or peanut oil
Flour (optional)
1/4 pound butter (clarified butter is best)
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup veal stock (can substitute low sodium, low fat chicken broth)
1 cup game stock can substitute low sodium, low fat beef broth)
Bread slices fried in butter

Cover the prunes in Madeira and marinate them for at least 24 hours, do no refrigerate. Place the noisettes in an open pan and season them with the juniper berries, lemon zest, salt and pepper. Sprinkle with oil and set aside for at least 2 hours. Lightly flour the noisettes if desired. Heat the butter in a large heavy skillet and brown the noisettes quickly on all sides, being careful not to burn the butter. Turn them several times. Remove the meat to a serving platter and keep warm. Meanwhile, bring the prunes and Madeira to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Discard the fat in the pan and deglaze the pan with white wine. Let the wine reduce to less than half; add the veal and game stock and simmer on low heat for at least 5 minutes. When the stock had reduced by half, add the prunes and the wine and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring gently and continuously. Return the noisettes and juices to the pan and heat through so the meat absorbs the flavors. With a slotted spoon, set the prunes around the noisettes, alternating them with triangles fo fried bread. Ladle the sauce over the meat.