Recipe: Venison Chop with Syrah-Fig Sauce and Yam Purée

Matt Nichols, a top chef from California, offers one of his favorite venison recipes.

Ingredients:
2 yams, peeled
2 Idaho russets, peeled
2 ounces heavy cream
2 ounces butter
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1 ounce brown sugar
salt and pepper
4 10-ounce venison chops rubbed with olive oil and chopped fresh thyme
1 small onion, chopped fine
2 cloves garlic, chopped fine
1 shallot, chopped fine
2 cups syrah
8 figs, cut in half
4 ounces beef stock
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Directions
1. Lightly boil yams and potatoes together, when cooked strain and mash. Add cream, butter, cinnamon and brown sugar.

2. Season to taste and keep warm. Season venison, sear in olive oil until nicely browned on both sides, remove from pan. Add onion, garlic and shallot. Saute until caramelized, add syrah. Reduce by half and strain liquid into small saucepot. Add figs, let simmer for five minutes. Remove figs and set aside. Add beef stock to the syrah and reduce until sauce consistency, whisk in butter and season. Keep warm. Place venison in preheated 400 degree oven. Cook for about 5-7 minutes (venison can not be cooked more than medium rare or it becomes very dry)

Serving Tip: Place the yam puree in the center of plate, set the venison chop on the puree. Add the figs back into syrah sauce and ladle over the venison.

Matt Nichols is the co-executive chef, with his brother Jeff, at Brothers' Restaurant at Mattei's Tavern in Los Olivos, Calif.