|4 venison loin steaks, about 5 1/2 oz each||1 large carrot, peeled and cut into 1/4-in sticks|
|Salt||1 small celery root, peeled and cut into 1/4-in sticks|
|2 oz black peppercorns||1 small Savoy cabbage, trimmed of dark outer leaves and shredded into 1/2-in wide ribbons|
|1 1/2 Tbs olive oil||1/3 cup heavy cream|
|4 Tbs duck fat|
Season the venison loins with salt, then roll each one in the crushed peppercorns until evenly covered.
Put the oil in a heavy-bottomed frying pan over medium heat. When it is hot, fry the pieces of venison for 3-4 minutes on each side, until the meat is firm to the touch, but springs back when you press it with your finger. It should stay pink in the middle. Remove from the pan and set aside in a warm place to rest.
Melt a third of the duck fat in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Add the carrot and celery root sticks and cook until tender. Strain the vegetable sticks through a colander, draining the fat into a heatproof bowl.
Return the saucepan to the heat, add the remaining duck fat and cook the shredded cabbage for a few minutes, until the ribbons begin to wilt slightly. Add the carrot and celery root sticks and cook for another 3-4 minutes. Strain the duck fat into a heatproof bowl. Return the pan to the heat and pour in the cream. Let it bubble slightly, until the cream lightly coats the cabbage leaves.
To serve, slice the venison and place on a large warm plate with the creamy cabbage to one side.
The best way to judge the "doneness" of a steak-- of any kind-- is a simple touch test. With your right index finger, press the soft fleshy bit at the base of your thumb, keeping your thumb relaxed. The muscle should feel soft and squishy. That's the feel of rare meat. Now pull your thumb toward your palm and notice how the muscle becomes firmer and firmer. So does steak when you cook it. So a relaxed feel equates to a rare steak, a semifirm feeling to a medium steak, and a firm feel to a well-done steak. Practice this a few times and you'll be able to judge how well a piece of steak is cooked by feel alone. This is much more reliable than timings because every steak is different and cooks at a different speed.
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