Executive Chef Sophiane Benaouda
Grand Cafe Brasserie & Bar
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA
2 lb venison loin
4 figs, diced
1 cup port wine
2 cups veal demi-glace
Few drops of lemon juice
[Potato and squash gratin dauphinois]
3 medium-sized sweet
1 butternut squash
1/2 cup-3/4 cup hot milk
5 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup Gruyère
1 cup of cream
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400°F. Place a heavy skillet on high heat and add just enough salad oil to coat bottom of pan. While pan is heating, season venison loin with salt and pepper.
When pan is hot, sear off venison on all sides. Transfer to oven and roast for approximately 10 minutes (medium rare) or until desired. Remove venison from oven and allow it to sit for 5 minutes before slicing.
[Fig and port wine sauce]
Add figs to pan and cook over low heat until soft; add port wine and reduce in volume by 3/4. Add veal demi-glace and simmer until it has reduced by half. Season to taste with salt and pepper and a few drops of lemon juice. Keep the sauce hot.
[Potatoes and squash gratin]
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Generously butter a 9-by-12-inch gratin dish. Peel the squash and trim top and bottom.
Cut off seed-filled bottom, half it and remove, discarding the seeds. Slice neck of squash into 1/8-inch-thick rounds and slice base into 1/8-inch-thick half circles. Peel potatoes and cut them into 1/8-inch-thick slices.
In a small bowl, combine thyme, marjoram and sage. Beginning with half circles of squash (reserve the more attractive rounds for the top layers), layer about 1/3 of the squash slices in the gratin dish.
Sprinkle with some of the herbs and season with salt and pepper. Layer 1/2 the potato slices over the squash layer. Sprinkle with some of the herbs and 1/2 of the garlic. Season with salt and pepper.
Spread another third of the squash slices on the potatoes. Sprinkle with some of the herbs and season with salt and pepper. Spread remaining potatoes in another layer over squash and sprinkle herbs and the rest of the garlic. Top with remaining squash and herbs, and season with salt and pepper.
While firmly pressing down on squash and potatoes with spatula, slowly pour the cream over the top and down the sides of the dish. Add enough to just barely cover the vegetables when pressed. Cover the dish with foil and bake the gratin for 45 to 50 minutes.
Remove foil and sprinkle with the Gruyère. Continue to bake, uncovered, for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender, until the cream is nearly absorbed and the top of the gratin is lightly browned. Let the gratin rest for about 10 minutes to absorb all the cream before serving.