After being given an interesting lesson in jointing a whole venison carcass (link), I had a saddle to roast.
You don’t need to do anything fancy with venison – just roast it & make a sympathetic sauce. “Tandoori venison” makes me squirm.
Here’s how I cooked my Venison Saddle with Blackberry Sauce.
It was closer to “medium” than “medium rare”, and though still excellent, next time I’ll go a bit less and use meat thermometer.
1 saddle of venison (ours was 2.1 kg) on the bone
30g duck fat or butter Small glass red wine
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Gravy 30ml sloe gin (optional)
200g blackberries 500ml beef stock
Lemon juice & pinch sugar, to taste
Preheat the oven to 220°C / Gas Mark 7.
Season the saddle generously with salt and pepper.
Melt the duck fat or butter in a roasting tray to seal the saddle over a medium heat.
Fold any edges underneath, and transfer to the oven, rib side down.
Roast at 220°C / Gas Mark 7 for 20 minutes then lower the heat to 150°C / Gas Mark 2,.
Remove the joint and pour the wine into the roasting tray.
Return the saddle to the tray and pop it back into the oven.
Now allow another ten minutes per 500g for medium-rare meat.
If you prefer more well-done, allow 15 minutes per 500g.
Venison can go VERY tough easily – over-cooked is bad.
I thought ours came out closer to “medium”, and wish I’d used a meat thermometer and pulled it out at 60C.
Make your gravy while the venison rests.
Put your blackberries & beef stock into a blender, and pulverise.
There should be some wine and cooking liquid in the tray – yum!
Splash your sloe gin in there, put it on the hob, and give it a good sizzle. (You can use red wine here if no sloe gin. But here’s our recipe to make this easy seasonal treat.)
Sieve the blackberry stock into the sizzling tray and bring it a proper boil.
(Don’t think about not sieving it!)
I was going to add crushed juniper berries here, but forgot.
Reduce the heat to an aggressive simmer.
Meanwhile, taste that gravy. Sharpen it with lemon, add a pinch of sugar, and check seasoning. (Only do this once reduced – you can’t un-season.)
Serve with roasties and runner beans, or maybe mash, or perhaps Gratin Dauphinois.
Normally this would be the end, but returning to the joint later revealed there was still plenty on there.
Flipping it over revealed two more long strips of tasty meat.
They literally peeled clear of the bone.
Finally, we gave the joint a good picking over.
We had enough meat to make a generous one-person shepherd’s pie.
Obviously your process will vary dependent on what kit you have.
We made some sloe gin a while back, and we got a final gasp of blackberries, and we have an excellent blender.
Use what you’ve got and make this dish your own.