Venison with thyme pears & port
Skill level: Easy peasy
This roast venison dish looks and tastes delicious! Perfect for a late Sunday lunch or to impress dinner party guests.
- 2-3kg haunch of venison
- 2tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 carrot, diced
- 1 celery stick, diced
- 2 garlic cloves
- 10 juniper berries
- 10 cloves, whole
- 3tsp thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 500ml (17fl oz) red wine
- 8 small pears
- Juice of 2 lemons
- 2tbsp caster sugar
- 75ml (3fl oz) butter, melted
- 1tbsp coarse ground black pepper
- 75ml (3fl oz) port (or Banyuls)
- 1tsp dark chocolate, grated
- Sea salt to season
Like most red meat, venison (deer meat) contains protein, zinc, iron and selenium. It has about one-third the fat of beef and fewer calories too
- Trim the venison, removing the skin, sinew and fat covering the meat, then tie the joint with string (you can ask your butcher to do this if you wish), ensuring you reserve all the waste for the sauce. Rub the venison with a tablespoon of olive oil then cover with film and refrigerate.
- Heat the remaining oil in a pan and fry the vegetables with the cloves of garlic and the meat trimmings until they colour a rich golden brown. Add the juniper, cloves, 1tsp of tyme and the bay leaves then pour in the red wine. Bring to the boil and simmer for 15 mins. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. Pour over the meat, cover again and refrigerate overnight to allow the flavours to infuse.
- When the meat has finished marinating, peel and halve the pears, remove their cores and roll in the lemon juice. Place on an ovenproof tray, sprinkle with half the sugar and half the remaining thyme, brush with a third of the butter and place under a hot grill for 10 mins. Turn the pears and repeat the process with the remaining sugar, Thyme and another third of the butter and grill until golden brown. Allow to cool.
- Pre-heat the oven to 220°C, 425°F, gas mark 7. Remove the meat from the marinade and dry with paper towels. Season with sea salt and brush with the remaining melted butter. Roll the joint in the ground pepper and then place on a roasting tray in a hot oven and roast for 1hr/1hr 20 mins for medium-rare. Transfer the meat to a plate, cover with foil and allow to rest. Reduced the heat of the oven to low and place the pears in to warm through.
- Pour the marinade into the roasting tray and heat on the stove top. Scrape up the caramelised venison juices in the tray and simmer for 10 mins, reducing by half. Add the port and the grated chocolate, and simmer for a further 5 mins. Strain this sauce through a fine sieve and season with a little lemon juice and sea salt.
- To serve, carve the venison thinly, serve with half a pear and spoon over the sauce.