Saturday, May 12, 2012

Roast Venison with Sauce Grand Veneur

In Boulestin's day venison was marinated to make the meat more tender and to remove excessive gaminess. He was dealing with wild deer; for farmed venison, marinating is more for flavour. Tender cuts such as fillet can be marinated for 6 hrs rather than the 12 -24 hrs for wild venison or tougher cuts of farmed meat.

Venison is served with a sharp sauce to contrast with the sweetness of the meat. Boulestin's Sauce Grand Veneur is made from the venison trimmings and flavourings cooked in vinegar, with cream and redcurrant jelly added at the end.

The meat is underdone, 9-10 minutes per 500g. Before roasting, drain off (and reserve) the marinade and pat the venison dry with kitchen towels. Boulestin's venison is larded or greased with butter before it goes in the oven, and well-basted. I pan-fried two fillets in butter, put them in the baking dish and poured the butter over.

For four people, 600g of venison fillets is sufficient.


1 onion, sliced
1 carrot, sliced
1 French shallot, chopped
1 stalk celery, sliced
bouquet (bay leaf, parsley, thyme)
2 cloves
1 cup white wine vinegar

Cook the onion, carrot, shallot and celery in a little oil for 1 minute; add the bouquet, cloves and vinegar, bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Allow the marinade to cool. When cold, pass through a sieve and pour over the venison, previously seasoned with salt and pepper. Turn the venison once or twice while marinating.

Sauce Grand Veneur

Venison trimmings
1 small carrot, finely diced
1 small onion, finely diced
1 French shallot, finely diced
50g butter
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons stock (or water)
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
freshly ground black pepper
125 ml cream
1 tablespoon redcurrant jelly

Brown the trimmings, onion, carrot and shallot in butter. When brown, drain off the butter, add the vinegar, the stock and the same quanitity of the liquid in which the venison has marinated. Bring to the boil, skim, reduce heat and simmer until reduced by half.

Add a little mustard, lots of freshly ground black pepper, a little more marinade, and bring to the boil for 2 minutes. Pass through a sieve, stir in the cream, bring to the boil and reduce until the sauce has the consistency of thick cream.

The sauce can be served as it is (Sauce Poivade). For Sauce Grand Veneur, at the last minute stir in one tablespoon of redcurrant jelly, roughly chopped, and cook on a low heat until dissolved.

Roast Venison

600g venison, boned and trimmed
50g butter

Pan fry venison in butter until browned. Put the meat in baking dish, pour over the butter in which it has browned and roast 12-15 minutes in a hot oven. Allow to rest before carving. Boulestin's venison is served traditionally, with a puree of celery or chestnuts. Mine was served with thinly sliced roast potatoes and red cabbage. The wine was a Canobolis-Smith Alchemy from Orange.

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