A fragrant cinnamon spice rub turns your leg medallions pretty Greek and pretty damn festive! Greek cuisine makes frequent savory uses of cinnamon in dishes like Pastitsio and Moussaka showcasing its versatility beyond just sweets and desserts. This exciting pairing of cinnamon and venison by Mark Cockcroft also including a delicious Farro Spinach Salad smothered in a charred lemon and oregano vinaigrette. Another wonderful dish for the Holiday table, mahalo Mark!
- 2 lbs venison leg medallions (striploin also works well)
- 1 cup farro
- 4oz baby spinach
- 1 large lemon, cut in half
- ½ cup crumbled feta
- 1 Tbsp minced fresh oregano or 1 tsp dried
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp onion powder
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- Pinch nutmeg
- 3 tsp salt, divided, plus more to taste
- 1 tsp black pepper, divided
- 1 tsp honey or agave syrup
- ½ cup plus 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil and add 2 tsp salt and the farro. Bring back to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until farro is al dente, about 18-22 minutes. Drain, place in a bowl, and set aside.
While farro is cooking, heat a medium sauté pan over medium heat. Rub cut sides of the lemon with just a touch of olive oil and place cut side down in the pan. Cook until richly browned on the cut side and remove to cool and turn off the heat. Squeeze juice from lemon halves into a small bowl. Add ½ cup of olive oil, oregano, honey, ½ tsp of black pepper, and a pinch of salt. Whisk to incorporate and set aside.
In a small bowl mix together the remaining 1 tsp salt, remaining ½ tsp black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Liberally sprinkle the venison all over with the spice rub (you may have some leftover – it’s great on other proteins and veggies as well).
Heat medium frying pan over medium heat and add the remaining 1 Tbsp of olive oil. Add venison and cook, turning often, until richly brown and done to your liking (for medium rare - pulled at about 125 F - about 4 to 8 minutes depending on the thickness of the cut). Let rest on a cutting board for a few minutes while preparing the rest of the meal.
Off the heat, add the spinach to the hot pan, and toss about to let it wilt. Add the wilted spinach to the farro along with the feta. Add half of the dressing and toss to coat. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Divide salad among 4 plates. Slice venison into thick pieces and place on top of the salad. Drizzle remaining dressing over venison on each plate and serve.