Recipe courtesy Michael Pataran, Executive Chef, Wildfire, Taboo Resort, Gravenhurst, Ontario.
Goat's Milk Strudel
Clean any excess fat and sinew from the venison rack and cut the rack in half to give you 4 bones per piece. Take a boning knife and slice down the centre of each loin, without going all the way to the end. Now slice again to make a grid (+) pattern formation. Wrap and refrigerate until needed. Alternatively, you can ask your butcher to do this for you.
Make the stuffing by adding the two vinegars and brown sugar to a medium size sauce pan or pot over medium heat and cook until the sugar dissolves. Add the onions, garlic, ginger juice, chile and figs and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes, covered.
Remove lid and add the spices and replace lid, simmer for an additional 20 minutes covered with tight-fitting lid.
After 20 minutes there should be very little liquid left. Add lime juice and salt and stir to combine, remove from heat and refrigerate until thickened and cool.
When the stuffing is chilled and thickened, stuff the venison rack. Use a sausage nozzle or the end of a wooden spoon to stuff the entire canal of the venison, making sure it is packed – but not over packed or else the meat will burst as it shrinks during cooking. Wrap and refrigerate until needed.
Place the pomegranate juice and port in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and reduce until it thickens, about only a ¼ cup of liquid should remain. Remove from heat. Stir in chocolate pellets. Add in the cocoa powder and whisk vigorously, chill.
When slightly chilled add the oils and whisk to emulsify, add the salt and sansho pepper. Reserve in a warm place if to be used within a few hours. If not using until later, refrigerate the reduction and add the oils when needed.
Note that packages of phyllo dough can be substituted if you don’t want to pull the strudel dough.
Make the dough by sifting the flours onto a cutting board, or in the bowl of an electric mixer. Combine the egg with the water and yuzu juice and mix well, mix in melted butter. Add to the centre of the flour and mix (or alternatively, mix with an electric mixer at low speed).
Knead by hand, until the dough starts to form into a ball, all the while picking it up and throwing it down on the board to work the dough. The mixture should be soft and supple, but not sticky. If the dough is dry, add a bit of water. If it is sticky add a bit of flour. Cover and let rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Preheat an oven to 375 degrees F. and grease a baking sheet with clarified butter.
Place the dough in the centre of a large tablecloth covering a large table. Sprinkle with flour.
Roll out to dough with a rolling pin to form a 1-foot square. Cover with a damp cloth. Let rest for 15 minutes.
Using your hands (palms down) reach under to the centre of the dough and rake towards the edges until the dough is paper thin and transparent (roughly a 3-foot square.) (This part is fun if you have four or five people in the kitchen because everyone can help to rake the dough.)
Trim any thick edges with a pizza wheel. If the dough rips while pulling, it’s okay since when the dough is rolled, it will overlap. Brush the dough with melted butter and sprinkle with kosher salt.
Leaving a 3-inch border from the edge furthest away from you, carefully spread the goat cheese, figs and roasted fennel to cover the entire dough surface.
Use the tablecloth to help roll the strudel away from you by grabbing the cloth edge and gently nudging the dough to roll, scrunching the tablecloth as you roll. (This is easier if you have a few friends helping.)
Carefully transfer the strudel, shaping it to fit the buttered parchment tray and brush with garlic butter and salt.
Bake 30 to 40 minutes until golden brown and remove from oven to cool.
Bring the venison to room temperature and preheat an oven to 400 degrees F. Place a large skillet or sauté pan over medium high heat. When the pan is hot add 2 tbsp. of canola or grapeseed oil. When the oil just begins to smoke, add the venison racks and sear on all sides until nicely browned. Transfer to the oven and roast venison about 12 to 17 minutes for medium rare (or about 15 to 20 minutes for medium.) Remove from oven. Rest venison for about 7 minutes so juices redistribute.
While rack is resting, slice 4 pieces of strudel and place in the centre of each of 4 heated plates, whisk the vinaigrette to emulsify and drizzle a pool around the base of the strudel.
Slice the racks to get 8 chops and place 2 chops resting up against the strudel to form a mini “honour guard.” Garnish with a fennel sprig and serve.