Veniard d'Estaing is a noble dish for those of humble lifestyles, particularly the common folk of the Archipelago. This dish originated in Osteiermark the homeland of the Leutz-Vixe Culture and has become a staple throughout a large portion of the Regalian Empire. This dish was created as a way to shake up the more bland and tough areas of the deer to make it more enjoyable and flavorful for the common folk. In the past venison was thought to be rather boring meat--tough, gamey, and ropey in some area-- offering little flavor and is often a chore to eat on its own, while the other better tasting areas were often reserved for the local nobility and upper-class aristocrats. This is when Leutz-Vixe chefs thought to create something new using different techniques to achieve a better-tasting dish out of the cuts available, as the better cuts of the meat, the ones with flavor and tenderness, were often packed up and sent to the local lords. This has had a striking impact on the way venison is eaten today and has climbed the ladder as these techniques have also been used on the more tender and better-tasting areas of deer to create an even better dish for those who can afford it.
Mainard Brodeur was a small restaurant owner in Osteiermark known for being experimental with his cooking, often mixing and matching different cooking and preparation techniques and creating his own. During Mainard’s youth, when he was an up-and-coming chef, he struggled to get off his feet with many people calling his experiments unnecessary and sacrilege. One day he was sat down eating venison as it was all he could afford due to the overpopulation, and not the best cut of meat. He was sick of eating low-quality meat and surmised there must be a better way to improve this dish. Venison depending on the season and the health of the landscape can be good tasting meat, however, it is different from cow meat as it is much more agile and springy, resulting in stronger muscles and more sinew to facilitate. Venison is less tender and often less flavorful due to the diet of berries and grass that the local Deer tend to eat. Deer in the dense Leutz-Vixe woodlands were and are high in population due to the culling of certain predators that tend to prey on livestock thus creating a boom in prey animals and a loss in vegetation affecting the lower wrung animals. This meant deer had to be hunted more frequently than in the past and created a very large abundance of venison meat. At the time, it wasn’t eaten in very large amounts and thus underdeveloped in terms of cuisine. Commoners and even nobles were sick of it in no time. Even though the animal had good-tasting areas, they weren’t quite the same as domesticated livestock.
This is when Mainard Brodeur got involved and sought to solve this problem, as he saw a great opportunity to make a name for himself so people could take his other ideas more seriously. First, he focused on processing the animal choosing, to hang the deer over weeks and allow the natural processes of enzymes, though they did not know this, to break down the meat and make it more tender. Next was the flavor. Osteiermark had no farms and no way to control the diet of the animal to improve the flavor however there were plenty of other methods to impart flavors into the meat. One such method was brining, as the treated liquid with spices and herbs penetrated the meat and imparted flavor and moisture, so Mainard went with this. The next step was cooking the meat. He found that searing the meat in oil and finishing with butter imparted good flavor and kept moisture well. Tart wines and vegetables paired well with the meat and went over various wine sauces until he settled on a red wine sauce mounted with a generous amount of butter. The Leutz-Vixe people were actually surprised and extremely pleased with the ingenuity Mainard had used to create a dish they could eat without feeling ill because of how often they ate venison. Soon his restaurant was swarmed with people and his name became well known, and many other critics and chefs came to respect him. His cooking style cementing his renown and enabling him to bend the rules in cooking without so much backlash.
Begin with the meat. Cut the backstraps out from a deer that has been hung for at least thirty days, these are the muscles on the dorsal side along its spine. Use a sharp knife to trim away the excess fat and sinew until only the meat remains. Cut these into steaks, approximately five inches long. Next, prepare the brine by dumping your water, sugar, and salt into a pot. Smash the cloves of garlic and add them to the brine with aromatic herbs of your choice and juniper berries, before adding the steaks themselves. Allow this mixture to sit in a cool place for an hour, then add the rosemary and juniper berries. Let sit overnight in a cool place, for a total of twelve hours spent in the brine, use this time to prepare baby carrots, thinly sliced potatoes, leave the potatoes to soak for an hour or two. Remove the backstraps and pat them dry. After the meat has been dried, boil the peeled and cleaned carrots for two and a half minutes and place them into ice-cold water. The next step is to make the sauce, start by placing a saucepan over the heat and adding oil and diced onions, sweat them until translucent and add a pinch of salt before pouring a cup and a half of red wine on top and reduce til half. At this stage, you should add in two nobs of cold butter off the heat and stir in until the butter is dissolved and the sauce is thick and glossy.
After this, set a pan over the heat until smoking hot then add the oil and finally the meat bringing the heat down to medium pan-frying the meat until both sides are seared nicely. Finish this process by adding in a generous amount of butter and base the meat in the butter. Butter has a low browning temperature and this will change the color of the meat and make it look much richer and golden brown in color over the whole steak. Fry your potatoes until crispy and drain them of oil, place these items on a plate, and spoon over the sauce to taste.
- The dish is glossy, utilizing autumn colors from the red sauce, orange carrots, and golden fried potatoes.
- The smell is a mix of fragrant spices and a deep scent of fruit from the wine.
- The dish is a mix of a tart-rich sauce with sweet carrots and gamey meat.