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RECIPE: ZA’ATAR VENISON LOIN CHOPS WITH WHIPPED FETA-TAHINI SAUCE AND ARTICHOKES

Pan-sear

45 Minutes

Serves 3-4

Difficulty: Simple
An effortless way to throw together a light but flavor-packed weeknight dinner. Starting with Venison Loin Chops rubbed in a fragrant, herbaceous spice blend, Za'atar, then pan-seared to perfection. Finished with a whipped feta-tahini sauce and plated alongside lightly seared artichokes. Warm up the feta briefly for 15-30 seconds in the microwave for an extra smooth sauce.
RECIPE BY MARK COCKCROFT
Ingredients
  • 2 packs Maui Nui venison loin chops
  • 1 large garlic clove, peeled
  • 2 Tbsp za’atar spice mix
  • Fine sea salt
  • 2 cups quartered artichoke hearts, patted dry (canned or frozen)
  • ½ cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 3 Tbsp tahini
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges
  • 1 -2 Tbsp hot water
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil, divided
Directions
Step 1: Place the chops on a tray or plate, drizzle with 1 Tbsp olive oil, rubbing it all over the meat, and then season lightly on both sides with salt. Sprinkle the chops with the za’atar mixture, generously coating both sides and pressing into the meat to make sure the spices adhere; set aside.
Step 2:

In a small blender or food processor add the garlic and pulse a few times until minced. Add the feta, tahini, lemon juice, and honey. Process until smooth and creamy, adding a little bit of hot water as necessary to help move things along. Taste and adjust seasoning to your taste, then set aside. *Note warm up the feta briefly (15-30 seconds in the microwave) for an extra smooth sauce.

Step 3:

Heat a heavy-bottomed skillet (large enough to fit all the chops without crowding) over medium heat. Add 1 Tbsp of olive oil and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan. Add the chops and cook for 2 minutes without disturbing the meat.

Step 4:

Flip the chops and cook for another 2 minutes. Cook, flipping every minute until done to your liking, about 6-8 minutes or so for medium-rare. Adjust heat to make sure the spices don’t burn. You can also stand the chops upright to cook the sides a bit. When chops are done to your liking, remove them to a cutting board to rest.

Step 5:

Carefully wipe the pan out, set it to medium-high heat, and add the last Tbsp of olive oil. When heated up, add the artichoke hearts in one layer and let cook undisturbed until nicely browned about 3-5 minutes. Toss and cook on the other side for another minute. If your artichokes are not pre-seasoned, sprinkle lightly with salt.

Step 6:

Divide the whipped feta sauce among four plates (I like to do a big curved schmear down the middle). Place the chops on the sauce and arrange the artichoke hearts equally around the plate. Serve with lemon wedges. Enjoy!


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