Venison with salt baked celeriac

Hambleton Hall, Rutland

200g venison loin Butter
1 sprig thyme
1 clove garlic, finely diced
Szechuan pepper

Venison sauce
Venison bones
Half an onion
Half a carrot
Half a leek
1 stick celery
2 cloves garlic
190ml port
375ml red wine
600ml veal glace
600ml chicken stock
1 star anise
2 juniper berries
Juice from 3 fresh passion fruit
Juice from 3 limes
70% chocolate

Salt baked celeriac
1 small celeriac
1kg cooking salt
125g egg whites

Spiced lentils
150g lentils, cooked & drained
1 onion
1 clove garlic
20g stem ginger
1tsp ground cumin
2tsp sweet chilli sauce
50g soy sauce
50g balsamic vinegar
2tsp tomato ketchup

Chocolate pasta
150g pasta flour
100g cocoa powder
Pinch of salt
1 whole egg
4 egg yolks
3tbs water
3tbs olive oil
70% chocolate beans for filling

Serves 4

For the sauce, roast the venison bones until golden brown. Chop and fry the vegetables until golden. Add the juniper and star anise, then the port and red wine and reduce by half. Add the roasted bones, glace and chicken stock, bring to the boil, then simmer for 10-15 minutes to a sauce consistency. Strain through a sieve, season with the juices and chocolate to taste, then pass through a fine sieve.

Wash the celeriac. Mix the salt with the egg whites and spread the mixture over a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper. Place the celeriac on the middle and cover with the remaining salt mixture until fully coated. Bake at 180°C for 30–40 minutes until soft inside (check with a skewer or knife), then crack open the salt crust and leave to cool. Once cool enough to handle, remove the salt crust and take off the skin of the celeriac with a sharp knife. Cut in half, then each half into four equal pieces. Set aside.

Finely dice and sweat the onion, garlic and ginger for the lentils. Add the cumin, sweet chilli and soy sauces, balsamic and ketchup and cook out for about 5 minutes. Stir in the cooked lentils.

Combine the dry ingredients for the pasta in a bowl; mix the wet ingredients together. Slowly stir the wet ingredients into the dry, then knead to a dough. Wrap the dough in cling film and chill to rest for 30 minutes. To make the tortellini (3 per portion) spread cling film on a flat surface. Roll out the dough to the thinnest setting. Cut out small discs and place a chocolate bean on each disc. Fold the pasta over the bean, pressing to leave no air bubbles. Seal the edges and bring the wings together to make tortellini shapes. Keep in the fridge on a plate covered with cling film and dusted with flour. Drop into simmering water for 2 minutes before serving.

When ready to serve pan sear the venison loin, then add a knob of butter and the thyme and garlic and take to pink. Season with salt and Szechuan pepper, slice, and serve with root vegetables.