Venison Loin with Chocolate Infused Sauce

Ingredients

1 (1 1/2-pound) venison loin, or substitute lamb loin
4 cups red wine
4 bay leaves
4 sprigs thyme, plus more for garnish
4 cups venison stock (or beef stock)
1/4 cup semisweet dark chocolate chips
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup pecans, toasted and chopped
1 cup honey
3 ounces olive oil
1 pound chanterelles, cleaned and sliced
4 cloves garlic, sliced
1 1/2 pounds braising greens
4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, plus more to taste

Directions

Place the venison loin in a non-reactive bowl or pan and add the red wine, bay leaves, and fresh thyme. Let marinate for 24 hours, refrigerated.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Remove the venison loin from the marinade and pat dry using paper towels. Reserve the marinade and pour it into a non-reactive saucepan. Bring to a boil and reduce over high heat until reduced by half. Add the venison stock and lower the heat to medium-low flame. Reduce again by half, then take off the heat and add the semisweet chocolate and whisk. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Keep warm.

Combine the pecans and honey in a small bowl.

Season the venison with salt and pepper. In an oven-safe saute pan over medium-high heat, heat 1-ounce of olive oil. Sear the loin on 1 side until golden brown and turn, then place the pan in the oven for about 8 to 10 minutes. Cook until an instant-read meat thermometer inserted into the venison loin registers 130 degrees F for medium rare. Remove from pan and allow to rest.

Meanwhile, in a saute pan over high heat, heat 1-ounce of olive oil. Add the chanterelles and season with salt and pepper. Saute for about 4 to 6 minutes or until tender, mixing gradually with a wooden spoon.

In another saute pan over medium-high heat, add the remaining 1-ounce of olive oil. Add garlic and saute until golden, about 30 seconds. Then, quickly add braising greens and the 4 tablespoons (or to taste) lemon juice. Saute the braising greens until tender, stirring frequently.

For plating: Roll the venison loin in the pecan mixture and then slice into 4 portions.

On each dinner plate, add some chocolate sauce and then layer the braising greens, then the chanterelles, followed by the slices of venison loin. Drizzle some of the honey pecan mixture on top of the venison and garnish the plate with a sprig of thyme.

Recipe Corner

​Gouda and Spinach Stuffed Pork Chops

Ingredients:

4 (6 ounce) thick cut pork chops 8 slices smoked Gouda cheese 1/2 pound fresh spinach, rinsed and torn into bite-size pieces
Fresh Express Baby Spinach 
1 tablespoons horseradish mustard 
1 cup panko crumbs or breadcrumbs Creole-style seasoning to taste Add all ingredients to 
Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Coat a 9x13 inch baking dish with cooking spray.
Lay each chop flat on cutting board, and with a sharp knife held parallel to the board, cut a pocket into the pork, leaving three sides intact.
Stuff each chop with spinach, and then with cheese.
Place panko crumbs in a shallow dish. Coat each chop with a thin layer of horseradish, and then roll in crumbs. 
Arrange chops in prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with Creole seasoning to taste.

Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes, or until brown and crispy