Monday, 2 January 2012

I learn to cook venison

A few weeks ago boyfriend and I were walking through the Rocklea markets doing pre-christmas shopping and on a total whim we bought ourselves a shoulder of venison from the Duck Man as a treat. I had no idea how to cook venison, so I got my foodie family onto the problem and my Dad sent me a recipe from our much loved copy of the Bayrisches (Bavarian) cookbook, thoughfuly translated. Thanks Dad!

Last night I set about cooking up a storm with our 600g shoulder of venison, kipfler potatoes and home grown beans. This was my first time ever of cooking both venison and a proper gravy to go with the meat. The result was scrumptious. So proud of myself and not a little smug.

The Bayerisches recipe, roughly translated and with notes:

1 venison shoulder

crushed juniper berries

100g speck or fatty rashers of nice bacon to cover

To bake:

80-100g butter

1 onion

Some juniper berries – not always available in supermarkets but certainly in a decent fruit shop or deli. Juniper berries are what gin is made out of and they have a delightful peppery woody flavour that goes wonderfully with most game.

1-2 bay leaves

1/2 - 3/4 l liquid (stock or something). I used beef stock


1/4 l thick sour cream

Thickening sauce:

1 desert spoon flour of 2 teaspooons cornflour

To improve:

Red wine. Slosh in a bit of whatever wine you're drinking to accompany dinner. If you're not drinking wine with your venison then we are NO LONGER FRIENDS.

1-2 desert spoons red current jelly

Grated orange peel (if desired)

If possible remove meat from bone, remove skin, rub with salt, pepper, crushed juniper berries. Put in pan on some slices of Speck, pour over hot butter, add other baking stuff (bay leaves, onion, juniper berries).

As soon as they have a good colour, pour a little baking liquid – i.e. stock - in at the side and add more liquid periodically as necessary. Baste frequently. 15 minutes before the end of the cooking time pour over the sour cream and let it brown. Baking temperature 210 – 200c in a conventional oven, 170-180c in fan forced, on lower shelf.

Cooking time depending on size. 1.5-2 hours. (!)

Take meat out of the sauce (pan) and keep warm. To prepare sauce, loosen baking residues, add liquid if necessary, bring to boil, add binding agent (flour or cornflour) put through sieve, adjust to taste with the 'taste improvers'.


  1. I put fatty bacon rashers on top too; the idea is to keep moisture including fat flowing into the meat.

  2. Cook for about the same amount of time you'd cook beef. Bayerisches gives no idea of the size of the piece of venison but 1.5-2 hours is probably long enough to cook a whole side of a deer in your oven. Provided you can fit it in. I cooked my 600g shoulder piece for 1 hour, taking it out frequently to baste. The meat was quite well done after resting so I would say something more along the lines of 40-45minutes for a similar piece then rest.

  1. I didn't have red current jelly but I did have quince paste and that worked a treat.

  2. I skipped the sour cream part and it didn't matter.

  3. Roast potatoes in with the venison. It's the right thing to do.

  4. It's worthwhile spending some time on the sauce because it totally makes the meal.

Venison sounds scary but it is delicious and doesn't have to be that expensive. At the markets venison was going for $24/kg, which is equivalent to many cuts of pork and cheaper than either lamb chops or a decent cut of steak. Try it, its delicious and a heck of a lot easier than it sounds!

The venison hidden underneath the bacon and sitting in a pool of butter. Lucky venison.

Halfway through cooking.

Rested and carved.

The final product sans gravy. It may look kind of boring, but I'm no food photographer. The important point is that it was delicious and I'd make it again.

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