To marinade venison

If you’re not a meat-eater, you may wish to skip this post!

We had venison liver for dinner tonight; it was on offer in the supermarket and we ate it cooked in our usual way of cooking liver, sliced into thin strips, dusted with seasoned flour and fried quickly. We had it with baby potatoes, sweetcorn and peas. We’re fond of venison and have it whenever it’s cheap enough to buy! If it’s a piece of venison we might fry it like steak, or we might casserole it. Thinking about it, and having my Constance Spry cookery book to hand I wondered what she recommended. She has two recipes, one braised, one sautéed, both have a marinade and both are really straightforward once the marinade has been prepared and the meat settled in it for ‘several hours, or a day or two’.  There’s a long list of ingredients to marinade venison for braising:

  • 4 oz sliced carrots
  • 4 oz sliced onions
  • 2 oz sliced celery
  • ¾ gill oil
  • ¾ pint wine vinegar
  • 6 juniper berries, crushed, or Jamaican pepper (allspice)
  • a sprig of rosemary
  • a clove of garlic
  • 6 peppercorns crushed
  • 1 pint wine, wine and water mixed, or cider

With these recipes I’m always surprised how specific they are with ingredients like juniper berries and peppercorns, and also how much garlic we might use today compared to the one clove! The vegetables are browned in the oil, then everything else is added, simmered for 30 minutes, allowed to cool before pouring over the venison. it’s then left ‘for as long as desired‘, basting twice a day. It’s cooked with mirepoix of vegetables, a little marinade and good stock, and a spoonful of redcurrant jelly towards teh end of cooking.

The marinade for the sautéed venison is simpler:

  • 2 finely chopped shallots
  • a strip of lemon rind
  • salt, celery salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 wineglasses of red wine, preferably Burgundy

The first tim I ever had venison when I was a trip to Germany with my swimming club and we were served it in a sauce which was more like a gravy. I was amazed at the texture of the meat and how delicious it was, but it was many, many years before i tried it again!


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