makes four servings
One 1 1/2-pound rack of venison
4 garlic cloves, smashed
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped cilantro
6 thin slices of smoky bacon (3 ounces)
1/2 cup chicken stock or canned low-sodium broth
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Set the venison in a glass or ceramic baking dish and rub with the smashed garlic. Pour the olive oil over the meat. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Transfer the venison to a plate; discard the garlic and reserve the oil. In a large, ovenproof skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the reserved oil until shimmering. Season the venison with salt and pepper and cook over moderately high heat until browned all over, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate to cool. Wipe out the skillet.
Press 1/2 cup of the cilantro onto the meaty top of the venison. Wrap the bacon around the meat, between the rib bones, overlapping slightly. Using cotton string, tie up the rack at 1/2-inch intervals to secure the bacon. Let stand at room temperature for up to 2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 400°. Heat 1 tablespoon of the reserved oil in the skillet until shimmering. Set the venison in the skillet, bacon side down, and cook over moderate heat, turning, until browned all over, about 10 minutes. Turn the rack bacon side up and roast in the oven for about 20 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center of the meat registers 115° to 120°. Transfer the venison to a carving board, cover loosely with foil and let rest for 5 minutes.
Pour off the fat from the skillet. Add the chicken stock and boil, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the skillet, until reduced to 1/4 cup, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of cilantro.
Carve the venison into 4 thick chops and transfer to plates. Spoon the pan sauce over the chops, and serve.
bacon recipe courtesy of: The Food & Wine Test Kitchen, "America's Powerhouse Wines," October 2001