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Chef Westley Muller’s grilled venison with dark chocolate sauce

Over at Haute Cabrière, it’s all about celebrating seasonal, locally sourced and organically farmed food through their menu of classic dishes – with a modern twist, of course. For chef Westley, it’s a no-brainer, having grown up on his grandparents’ farm. From there, he followed his dream of studying to become a chef. Now, he finds himself cooking alongside Nic van Wyk at the iconic Haute Cabrière Restaurant & Terrace. He showed us how to perfectly prepare grilled venison with dark chocolate sauce.


For the dark-chocolate sauce
150 g brown sugar
½ cup white wine vinegar
1 cup crème de cassis
2L beef stock
2 cloves
1 star anise
½ stick cinnamon
130 g mixed frozen berries
40 g dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa), chopped
For the crispy kale
1 bunch kale
Vegetable oil, to deep-fry
Salt and pepper
For the venison loin
1 kg venison loin
Salt and pepper
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp butter
2 sprigs thyme
2 peaches, halved

For the dark-chocolate sauce
1. In a pot, heat the sugar, stirring until caramelised.
2. Deglaze with the white wine vinegar and reduce until all the liquid has evaporated.
3. Deglaze with the crème de cassis and reduce by ⅔.
4. Add the stock and spices, and reduce again by ¾.
5. Add the berries and reduce again until sauce is the desired consistency. Strain out berries.
6. Add the chocolate, stirring until melted and smooth.
For the crispy kale
1. Cut off the kale stems.
2. Blanch kale leaves in salted, boiling water, then shock in ice water. Squeeze out all the water.
3. Deep-fry the kale. Drain on paper towel and season with salt and pepper.
For the venison loin
1. Preheat oven to 200°C.
2. Season the venison with salt and let it rest for 5 minutes.
3. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a griddle pan until smoking hot. Brown the venison, turning constantly. When almost brown, add butter and thyme. Ensure the venison is evenly coated with butter.
4. Transfer the venison to an ovenproof dish and roast it for 2–3 minutes. Remove from the oven and rest for 5 minutes before slicing.
5. Rub the peach halves in the remaining oil. Heat a griddle pan and grill them until char lines appear.
6. Serve the venison loin topped with crispy kale, grilled peaches and dark-chocolate sauce.

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