Friday July 10, 2020

A cook's tour of the Banner

This week, immerse yourself in the food of north Clare with three recipes from Trevis L Gleason's new book, Burren Dinners (O'Brien Press, €24.99), which showcases the area's chefs and food producers

Gillian Nelis

Managing Editor

24th November, 2019

Robbie McCauley's venison Wellington with game sauce

Ingredients, serves six

1kg venison loin, well trimmed

2 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp English mustard

For the pancakes

100g plain flour

1 pinch sea salt

1 egg

250ml milk

1 handful chives, snipped

1 handful flat-leaf parsley, minced

Drop of oil

For the duxelle

300g mixed wild mushrooms, cleaned and trimmed

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

150g venison liver, chopped fine

60ml cream

For the game sauce

1 shallot, minced

1 tbsp butter

1 sprig thyme

300ml port

600ml fresh game stock or chicken stock

2 tbsp cold butter, cut into small pieces

For assembling

6 slices prosciutto

500g all-butter puff pastry (frozen is just fine)

3 egg yolks, beaten


1. To make the pancakes, sift the flour and salt into a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk the egg and milk together. Gradually whisk the egg and milk mixture into the flour and stir in the herbs.

2. In a non-stick pan over a medium–high heat, add a drop of oil and swirl to coat. Add 60ml of the batter, tilting to cover the pan with a thin layer. Cook until the edges begin to dry and curl up just a bit. Flip and cook for another 30 to 40 seconds, then remove to a plate to cool. Repeat with remaining batter (the pancakes can be made up to two days in advance, wrapped in cling film and refrigerated).

3. For the venison, place a large skillet over a high heat. When the pan is hot, add a tablespoon of the oil. Sear the venison loin for two minutes on each side to brown. Remove the meat from the pan, brush all over with the mustard and leave to cool.

4. To make the duxelle, place the mushrooms in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse three to four times in two-second pulses to mince. Place the pan used to sear the venison back on a high heat with the remaining tablespoon of oil. Add the mushrooms, season with sea salt and fresh black pepper, but do not stir for three minutes.

5. After three minutes, stir the mushrooms and cook until the moisture has evaporated and they become a thick paste. Stir in the liver and cook for a minute. Add the cream, reduce the heat to medium and cook until it becomes a thick, uniform paste. Season again with sea salt and pepper. Transfer to a bowl to cool.

6. To make the game sauce, place a saucepan over a medium–high heat and sweat the shallot in butter with the thyme and a pinch of sea salt. Add the port and reduce by two-thirds. Add the stock, bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium. Simmer until the mix has reduced by two-thirds and the sauce is thick. Strain into a clean saucepan and set aside (again this can be made up to two days in advance). When you’re ready to serve, warm the sauce and stir in the butter, one piece at a time, to make it silky – do not boil.

7. To assemble the wellington, lay two to three large sheets of cling film overlapping each other on a clean work surface. Lay the slices of prosciutto overlapping lengthways in two rows of three Spread the mushroom duxelle evenly over the prosciutto. Place the venison loin on top and roll tightly into a sausage. Refrigerate while you lay out the pancakes.

8. Lay two to three pieces of cling film as before. Trim three to four pancakes into squares and lay them overlapping on the cling film. Remove the cling film from the prosciutto-wrapped venison and place the meat on the pancakes. Roll tightly, again in cling film, and refrigerate while you roll out the pastry.

9. Roll the pastry into a large rectangle big enough to wrap the meat easily. Brush the pastry with some of the egg yolk. Remove the cling film from the pancake-wrapped venison, place on the pastry and roll to completely encase. Tuck in the ends and trim off any excess, which can be cut into shapes for decorating the Wellington if desired. Lay out more cling film and finally roll into a tight package to get an evenly thick log. Tie the ends of the cling film to keep the package tight. Refrigerate overnight or freeze for an hour.

10. Pre-heat the oven to 220C. Remove the cling film, decorate with pastry shapes if desired and brush the Wellington all over with egg yolk. Place on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper. Bake for 50 minutes for medium rare, dropping to 180C if the pastry is browning too much. Remove from the oven to rest for 20 minutes. Trim the end of the pastry, carefully carve into slices 4cm and serve with the sauce.

Robbie McAuley is the executive chef at Gregan's Castle hotel near Lisdoonvarna

Eva Hegarty's courgette soup with seaweed crackers

Ingredients, serves six

700g courgettes, washed

2 tbsp olive oil

1 onion, minced

1 pinch sea salt

2 tbsp porridge oats

1 tsp dried thyme

600ml water

3 tbsp vegetable stock

80ml coconut milk

1 lemon, zested and juiced

1.75 tsp curry powder

2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

80ml Greek-style yogurt

Parsley, minced

For the seaweed crackers

250g plan flour

1 tsp sea salt

40g mixed seeds (sesame, chia, fennel, flax etc.) plus more for dusting

40g seaweed (dillisk, sea lettuce, nori etc), dried and ground

60ml olive oil

120ml cold water

1 tsp golden syrup


1. To make the seaweed crackers, first preheat the oven to 180C.

2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, salt, seeds and seaweed. Stir in the oil, water and syrup until the dough comes together, adding more water as needed. Cover and refrigerate for two hours.

3. Turn onto a lightly floured work surface, roll the dough thinly and sprinkle with more seeds, pressing them in. Cut to the desired size and shape with a cookie cutter, then place on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper. Bake in the middle of the oven for 10 to 15 minutes, until light golden, then cool on a wire rack. The crackers can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.

4. To make the soup, coarsely grate 600g of the courgettes and finely grate the remainder. In a large saucepan over medium heat, add the oil, onion and salt and sweat until soft. Add the oats and stir until lightly coloured and fragrant. Add the coarsely grated courgettes, thyme, water and stock and bring to a simmer for five minutes.

5. Remove from the heat and purée with a hand-held blender until smooth. Return to the heat and stir in the coconut milk, two teaspoons of lemon zest and two tablespoons of lemon juice. Season to taste with curry powder and the vinegar.

6. Add the finely grated courgette, stir it in, correct the seasoning and serve with a dollop of yogurt, a sprinkle of parsley and seaweed crackers.

Eva Hegarty is the co-owner of the Burren Free Range Pork farm near Kilfenora

Niall Hughes's goat's cheese frittata

Ingredients, serves six

6 tbsp caramelised red onions (see below)

12 cherry tomatoes, diced

18 mushrooms, diced

12 large eggs, free range if possible

90ml milk

2 tbsp tarragon (or any herb you like), torn/minced

90g soft goat cheese, crumbled

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the caramelised onions

2 tbsp olive oil

3 large red onions, peeled and thinly sliced

Sea salt


1. To make the caramelised onions, place a large, heavy-bottomed sauté pan over a low heat and add the oil. Once warm, add the onions and a good pinch of salt. Stir to coat. Cook very slowly for 15 to 25 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. If the onions begin to stick, add a little water, scrape well and keep stirring until the onions are sticky and caramelised (a further five to ten minutes). Remove from the heat.

2. Either use straight away or place single tablespoon-sized scoops into a muffin tray, cover in cling film and freeze. Once frozen, remove from the tray, place in a ziplock bag and store in the freezer until needed.

3. Pre-heat the grill to a high heat. To a 12-15 cast iron or non-stick pan over a medium–high heat, add a knob of butter and one teaspoonful of oil. Once the butter is melted, add one tablespoon of the caramelised onions, two tomatoes and three mushrooms. Sauté until the mushrooms are soft.

4. In a small bowl, whisk two eggs, one tablespoon of milk and one teaspoon of tarragon (or your chosen herb). Season with a bit of salt and pepper. Add to the pan and stir, then reduce the heat to medium.

5. Once the egg mixture begins to set, dot with the crumbled goat's cheese. Place the pan under a hot grill until it has puffed up and is golden on top. Pierce the top of the frittata to ensure it is cooked through. If not, another minute under the grill should finish it off. Keep warm in a low oven while making the other frittatas.

6. If you have a 30cm skillet, you could make one large frittata. The cooking method is the same, if a bit longer, for the eggs to set. Once finished, turn out onto a board and cut into wedges.

Niall Hughes is the co-owner of Seaview House, a boutique bed and breakfast in Doolin

Burren Dinners is published by the O'Brien Press, and is out now priced €24.99

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