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John Taylor
August 5, 2013 | John Taylor

Chef Bob Hurley's Original Recipe Pairing for the 2009 Collinetta Cabernet

Roasted Venison & Wild Blackberry Sauce with Porcini Polenta

Valrhona Chocolate Almond Torte

Inspired by Rocca Family Vineyards' 2009 Collinetta Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon (a 93-point Cellar Selection in August's Wine Enthusiast magazine), one of Napa's premiere chefs, Bob Hurley, has created an exquisite pairing just for you!

In the summer of 1988 Chef Bob Hurley planted his roots firmly in the California Wine Country, first as a chef at Domaine Chandon, then later as Executive Chef at the Napa Valley Grille.

In November 2002 he opened his own restaurant, Hurley's Restaurant, in Yountville, California.  Chef Hurley describes his menu as local California cuisine high in flavor and influenced by the Mediterranean so that it fits very well with wine. The regular menu offers a wide array of options.  The “Wine Country” theme allows diversity so that it is not tied down to a particular style or ethnicity.  



3 pounds venison loin or leg (sinew and connective tissue removed)
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt & pepper

For the marinade:
10  each juniper berries (crushed)
2 each bay leaves (crumbled)
10 each fresh sage leaves (chopped)
15 each black peppercorns
1 cup olive oil (pure)

Blackberry Sauce:
1 teaspoon unsalted butter
1 each shallot (peeled, finely diced)
½ teaspoon sugar
1 ounce raspberry vinegar
3 cups good veal stock
1 pint fresh blackberries

Porcini Polenta:
2 cups polenta
8 cups water
2 pounds assorted wild or exotic mushrooms (shitake, chanterelle, portobello, etc., sliced)
2 ounces olive oil
4 tablespoons shallots (chopped)
2 cups chicken stock
1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
½ cup assorted fresh herbs (thyme, sage, tarragon, Italian parsley, chopped)
1 cup fresh parmesan cheese (grated)
salt & pepper


Combine all ingredients of marinade.  Allow venison to marinade for 12-24 hours, turning once or twice.

Blackberry Sauce:

Melt butter in a small sauce pan over low heat.  Add shallots and cook until translucent (about 3-4 minutes).  Add sugar and cook until it begins to caramelize.  Add vinegar and reduce by half.

Add veal stock and ½ pint of blackberries.  Bring to a boil then simmer, skimming off the impurities that rise to the top during this process.  Reduce to 1 cup and strain.  Put sauce back on the fire, test for seasoning and add the remaining ½ pint of berries.  Let cook for 2 minutes, then take off the heat and reserve.


Preheat oven to 350°.

In a sauté pan on high heat, add olive oil and marinated venison.  Brown venison well on all sides and place in oven.  Cook until rare to medium rare (about 8-10 minutes).  Be sure not to overcook the meat or it will become dry.  Take out of oven and let rest in a warm place for 10 minutes

Porcini Polenta:
Add polenta in a steady stream to boiling water, continually stirring.  Return to a boil stirring constantly until polenta begins to dissolve and does not stick to the bottom of the pan.  Turn heat on low, simmer and cook for approximately 20-30 minutes.  During this time you may need to add more water to maintain a very thick consistency that pours.

Heat olive oil in a sauté pan and add the assorted wild mushrooms.  Cook on high heat until they start to give off moisture, add chopped herbs and shallots and sauté for one minute.  Add chicken stock and dried porcini mushrooms.  Cook until all liquid has evaporated.  Set aside.

When polenta is smooth and creamy add mushroom mixture, parmesan cheese and butter.  Season with salt & pepper to taste.  Pour into a pan that will allow a thickness of ¾ inch or greater.  Refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.  Unmold and cut into shapes.

To finish the cooked polenta, you can either grill it or bake it.

To grill:
Lightly dust polenta pieces with flour to absorb any moisture that may have accumulated.  Rub pieces with olive oil and place on a hot CLEAN oiled grill.  After acquiring nice grill marks, set aside in a warm place.

To bake:
Preheat oven to 350°.
Lightly dust polenta pieces with flour and sauté in olive oil until browned.  Finish in oven for approximately ten minutes and set aside in warm place.

Valrhona Chocolate Almond Torte:


5 ounces butter
6½ ounces almond paste
2½ ounces sugar
3½   each large eggs (beaten)
2 ounces coco powder
4½ ounces Valrhona chocolate pieces (chopped)
1½ ounces Guinette cherries (brandy soaked cherries)    
whipped cream
toasted almonds


Preheat oven to 350°.

Using a beater attachment on a hand mixer beat the butter until soft and fluffy.  Slowly add almond paste until thoroughly mixed.  Then add sugar.  After sugar is thoroughly incorporated, add beaten egg a little at a time.  On low speed add in coco powder.  Fold in by hand the chocolate pieces and cherries.

Portion mixture in 4 to 5 ounce baking cups and bake for 20 minutes.  Let cool before removing from cups.

Garnish with whipped cream and toasted almonds.

Serves 10


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