A recipe for savory venison strudel stuffed with a spiced cranberry relish, wrapped in layers of flaky phyllo pastry.
Do not underestimate the awesome results when pastry and meat is combined. I mean, just take a look at these sausage rolls. Or these meat pies. Need more proof? This savory strudel should have you easily convinced. Plus you know what else? It looks damn pretty on a plate.
And so to the filling. Technically, this is a fruit chutney. Apparently a lot of folks are turned off by the word chutney, both because it’s awkward sounding and they don’t quite know what it is. Allow me to tell ya. A chutney is a savory fruit based relish. This particular chutney is made up primarily of cranberries and red onion, and is spiked with a host of interesting spices like caraway seeds and cinnamon. The end result is a wonderfully complex sweet’n’savory spiced paste that is a perfect pairing to the venison.
Since venison can tend to be a little dry too, the liquid level of the chutney works well to keep things moist, while the thin, crisp sheets of phyllo deliver a fantastic crunch. And don’t worry if you’re not convinced on using venison – you can substitute with lamb or beef.
You can also cook this strudel in an oven, or in a grill using indirect heat.
Start by making the cranberry chutney. Place the cranberries into a bowl and cover with boiling water. Leave to sit until softened, 2-3 minutes, then drain.
Place the red onion in a saucepan and cook over medium heat until translucent and softened. Add in drained cranberries, cider vinegar, brown sugar, caraway, allspice, mustard seed, cinnamon stick, salt and the peel and juice from the orange.
Stir to combine, then lower heat to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally until the liquid has reduced and evaporated. The final chutney should be quite thick and not watery, over a low heat this may take 30-45 minutes. Allow to cool.
In a skillet, place one tablespoon of oil, and brown the diced onion. Remove from pan, add the second tablespoon of oil and brown the venison. Season with salt and pepper, then add the onions back in. Remove from heat and allow to cool before rolling in pastry.
Preheat an oven or indirect grill to 375f and prepare a tray lined with parchment paper.
Prepare a board to assemble the strudel. Start by placing a sheet of phyllo dough on the board, then brush with melted butter. Repeat with 5 more sheets of dough. While you a working, the dough sheets yet to be used should be covered with a damp cloth to prevent them drying out.
Spread half the venison mixture across the buttered sheets, leaving and inch border on all sides. Then, top with half the chutney mixture. The chutney may be too thick to spread, so you can just dot spoonfuls of it on top of the meat.
Fold in the long sides of the pastry, then roll the strudel up, and place seam side down on the tray. Brush with butter. Repeat the process with the remaining ingredients to form two strudels total.
Place the tray into your grill or oven, and cook until the phyllo is deep golden brown and crisp, about 45 minutes.