Ginger, Spice & Everything Nice

Among the most high-profile meals of the year, Christmas dinner usually ranks in the top ten. So why not make it one of the most memorable meals, and eschew the same old ham or turkey? Venison with ginger sauce is a nice way to spice things up and still celebrate the flavors of an Old World Christmas. This savory sirloin is a favorite among travelers when we serve it on our Christmas Markets Along the Rhine or Christmas Markets Along the Danube vacations. To end the meal, our sweet stollen will evoke the festive stalls you'll enjoy along two of Europe's most-loved rivers.


Venison Sirloin With Shallot Ginger Sauce

Game has all of the rich, hearty flavors of an Old World Christmas, together with the chestnuts so often referred to in carols at this time of year. Add decadent wine sauce, contrasted by the heady spice of ginger, and you have a meal fit for a king.

Ingredients:

3 lbs. venison sirloin
1/2 cup red wine
2 1/2 teaspoons garlic
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 cup onion, chopped
3/4 cups fresh mushrooms (whole)
3/4 cups steamed chestnuts
1/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp cream
1/8 cup shallots, minced
2 Tablespoons fresh ginger, grated
1 cup demiglace*
Fresh vegetables of your choice


Preparation:

  1. Marinate the venison in red wine and garlic for a day. Reserve the marinade when ready to cook.
  2. Sear outside of unsliced loin in hot pan on all sides on medium heat. Bake at 200 degrees Fahrenheit for about 40 minutes.
  3. Add a generous glug of olive oil to a separate pan (enough to coat the bottom) in order to sautee onions and mushrooms. Add sugar to pan, and stir until caramelized. Add cream, chestnuts, shallots, and ginger, and fill up the pan with the marinade from the venison. Simmer for a while until mixture reduces, then add demiglace.
  4. Slice the venison like you would a flank steak—thinly and against the grain—plate alongside steamed fresh vegetables (if you opted to cook them), and mushrooms, and drizzle with the demiglace sauce.

Serves: 8-6

* Expert home chefs may have this already prepared and stored in the freezer, but it can also be purchased at specialty food stores.


Dresdner Stollen

Dresdner stollen, named for the region in Germany where it is believed to have originated in the 1300s, is a cake-like yeast bread that usually has candied fruits, citrus zest and spices. It’s called Christollen because the loaves are often folded, which some people believe symbolizes the Christ child in swaddling clothes. It’s a common yuletide treat in Germany that you may find at any number of holiday stalls on our Christmas Markets on the Danube trip, where you can also learn how to make it on board in a Discovery Series event. Tradition is that families set aside the first piece of stollen to ensure they would be able to afford decadent eats and treats the following year—but with this recipe, shared by our culinary team, there’s no need to set anything aside because it will be easy to make again and again.

Ingredients:

2 2/3 cups raisins
1/3 cup rum
4 cups flour
2 1/8 cups milk
1/8 cup dry yeast
Salt
8 ounces (1 stick) butter
8 ounces margarine
7/8 cup sugar
1/8 tablespoon lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup almonds, chopped
2/3 cup candied lemon peel
1/2 cup candied orange peel
Butter for brushing
Sugar for icing


Preparation:

  1. Soak the raisins in rum overnight.
  2. Warm the milk over a low burner or let it come to room temperature. It should be neither warm nor cool to the touch. Add 1/4 cup of sugar, the yeast, and 1/4 cup of flour. Let mixture raise for at least 10 minutes in a warm place.
  3. Melt the butter and margarine and in a bowl, and add the following dry ingredients: remaining sugar and flour, salt, nutmeg, and lemon zest. Add the yeast mixture to form into a dough.
  4. Knead in, one by one, the following ingredients: candied lemon and orange peel, raisins, and almonds.
  5. Let dough rise for an hour.
  6. Split dough into halves.
  7. Roll halves into flat oval shape, and fold over each side lengthwise in toward the middle.
  8. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for an hour.
  9. Brush with melted butter, and sprinkle with sugar so it creates a rich layer of icing on top.

Servings: Yields 2 loaves