Venison loin with cranberry and fiddlehead

By Bianca Osbourne
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Cranberry sauce:

  • 2 cups (470 ml) fresh cranberries
  • 1-1/2 cups (350 ml) apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup (240 ml) sugar
  • 1 lemon, juice and zest
  • 1 star anise
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 1 cup (240 ml) cranberry juice
  • Pepper

Garlic scape and fiddlehead pancake:

  • 1-1/2 cups (350 ml) all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons (17.5 ml) baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon (.75 ml) white pepper
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) white sugar
  • 1 cup (240 ml) milk
  • 3/4 cup (180 ml) buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons (45 ml) butter, melted
  • 1 cup (240 ml) chopped garlic scapes
  • 18 fiddleheads
  • Oil and butter, to fry pancakes

Roasted venison loin:

  • 2 venison tenderloins, cleaned
  • Oil, for searing
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 3 sprigs thyme
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) cold butter
  • Flaky Sea Salt, to finish


  1. For the cranberry sauce, combine vinegar, sugar, lemon, anise, cloves, rosemary, cranberry juice, and pepper in a medium pot over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes. 
  2. Add the cranberries and cook another 20 minutes or until the sauce becomes syrupy.
  3. Remove from heat and rest at room temperature until ready to serve.
  4. For the garlic scape and fiddlehead pancake, in a large mixing bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Add the milk, buttermilk, eggs, and melted butter, and whisk until smooth.
  5. Transfer to a blender, add the garlic scapes, season with white pepper and blend until green and perfectly smooth.
  6. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Trim the fiddleheads to be perfectly round and even, then blanch for two minutes.
  7. Shock in ice water to stop the cooking. Remove and pat dry.
  8. Heat a little butter and oil in a non-stick pan over medium heat. Add a small round (2 in/5 cm) of batter to the pan. Let cook for one minute until the sides are just starting to dry.
  9. Press three of the blanched fiddleheads into the top of the batter without altering the round shape. Cook for another one to two minutes.
  10. Flip and cook for one minute until just firm and cooked through. Repeat to use all of the batter. Reserve for plating, keep warm.
  11. For the roasted venison loin, heat oil in a large cast iron pan over medium-high heat. Season the loins with salt and pepper and sear on all sides for one to two minutes, until nicely browned.
  12. Add butter, rosemary, thyme, and garlic to the pan.
  13. Allow the butter to melt and the aromatics to infuse. Then baste the venison constantly while flipping for three to four minutes until cooked to the desired internal temperature.
  14. Remove the loin from the pan. Transfer to sheet pan and add the butter and herbs over top. Let rest for four to five minutes.
  15. To serve, once rested, slice loin into 3/4-inch (2 cm) medallions, and season with sea salt.
  16. Place two medallions side by side on each plate.
  17. Place a fiddlehead pancake on the opposite side of the plate, leaving a little space between the two.
  18. Top both with cranberry sauce, and use liquid from cranberry sauce to decorate the plate.

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