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Cherry venison canapes

Pair it with: Jackson-Triggs Grand Reserve Pinot Noir

I really love adding a hint of sweetness to savoury dishes, especially when it comes to game-y meats like venison (and lamb, for that matter). They have an earthiness to them, which I think is complemented beautifully with sweet spices and ingredients. For this dish I’ve created a spice rub for the venison to enhance its natural flavour, with spices like allspice, cumin, and a touch of cinnamon (for that note of sweetness). Use what you need for the amount of meat you’re cooking and save the rest for another use. When cooking with venison striploin, keep in mind that it’s a very lean meat and likes to be cooked like a beef tenderloin – high heat and fast is the way to go, with butter in the pan for richness. Serve these canapes warm or at room temperature and swap the store-bought crispy toast rounds for baguette crostini if you prefer. I love to use cherry preserves with venison, but blackberry, black currant, and blueberry also work well.

My first taste of this creation was love at first bite! You’re going to love this one…



  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 4 turns freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice, ground
  • 1/8 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 180 g venison striploin (approx. weight)
  • 1/2 tablesppon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons chives, fresh, finely chopped
  • 15-20 pieces crispy toast rounds, store-bought
  • Cherry preserves (your favourite kind), as needed to garnish
  • Chives, to garnish, if desired


  1. Pat venison dry with paper towels. Season both sides well with the spice rub – I like to use just over ½ teaspoon of the rub for a 180-gram steak.
  2. Heat a cast iron pan over medium-high heat. Once heated, add the oil, followed by the butter. Swirl the pan and once the butter is foaming add the venison. Cook two minutes per side flipping only once for rare, two and a half minutes per side for medium. Note: be sure to flip only once to allow a sexy crust to form. Transfer cooked venison to a cutting board, sprinkle with the dried oregano, and allow to rest at least five minutes before slicing paper thin.
  3. Meanwhile, in a small bowl stir together the mayonnaise and chives. Set aside.
  4. To assemble canapes, spread some of the chive mayonnaise onto each toast and top with a slice of venison. Dress with a dot of cherry preserves, garnish with fresh chives, and serve on a platter.

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