Venison is not to everyone's taste but, in my experience in Spain, it is one of the best meats on offer. Be that via a simple burger or, as is the case here, in the form of meaty chops with a nice sauce.
The Romesco sauce hails from Tarragona in Catalunya. Romesco is the Catalan word for the ñora chilli which is a crucial ingredient for this tasty meal. Any leftover sauce can be used cold as a dip with vegetables.
- 4 venison chops, cut three quarter inch thick and of about 200 grams each
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves, chopped
- 3 tomatoes, peeled, seeded and roughly chopped
- 4 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
- Salt and ground black pepper
- 4 tablespoons of butter
- Braised Savoy cabbage, to serve
For the Sauce
- 3 ñora chillies
- 1 hot dried chilli
- 25 grams of almonds
- 150 mlof olive oil
- 1 slice of stale bread, crusts removed
To make the romesco sauce, slit the chillies and remove the seeds, then leave the chillies to soak in warm water for about 30 minutes until soft. Drain the chillies, dry them on kitchen paper and chop finely. Dry fry the almonds in a frying pan over a medium heat, shaking the pan occasionally, until the nuts are toasted evenly. Transfer the nuts to a food processor or blender. Add 3 tablespoons of oil to the frying pan and fry the bread slice until golden on both sides. Lift it out with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. Tear the bread and add to the food processor or blender.
Fry the chopped garlic in the oil remaining in the pan. Add the soaked chillies and tomatoes to the processor or blender. Tip in the garlic, with the oil from the pan and blend the mixture to form a smooth paste. With the motor running, gradually add the remaining olive oil and then the sherry and wine vinegars. When the sauce is smooth and well blended, scrape it into a bowl and season with salt and ground black pepper to taste. Cover with clear film (plastic wrap) and chill for two hours.
Season the chops with pepper. Heat the olive oil and butter in a heavy frying pan. Fry the chops for about five minutes each side until golden brown and cooked through. When the chops are almost cooked, transfer the romesco sauce to a pan and heat it gently. If it is too thick, stir in a little boiling water. Serve the sauce with the chops, accompanied by braised cabbage.