Venison in Huntsman Sauce
is a real winter treat and is well worth the preparation time. Roast venison should never served on its own; it deserves an elaborate sauce. Here, we create a fine-tuned balance between sweet and sour to perfectly accompany a venison joint.
In Alsace, in North-East France (a big hunting region) this dish is usually served with chestnuts. I also like to serve a celeriac puree.
How to make Venison in Huntsman Sauce:
The secret to Venison in Huntsman Sauce is a long marinade, so prepare this recipe at least one day (and preferably two) in advance. First of all, prepare the joint, by removing any shiny skin which surrounds the meat.
Peel and roughly slice the carrots, shallot and celeriac, place the venison joint in a dish and add all the marinade ingredients. Spoon the mixture over the meat several times then cover and set aside in a cool place. Turn the meat often during the 24 hour or 48 hour marinade period.
Remove the joint from the marinade and wipe it carefully with kitchen paper. If available, tie a thin slice of pork fat (or streaky bacon) around the meat to prevent it drying out while cooking. Set the meat aside for the moment.
To make the sauce, place the marinade in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and add the beef stock and peppercorns. Cover and gently boil for 1½ hours. Allow to cool slightly then strain and discard all solids, retaining the sauce.
Make a brown roux by gently melting the butter in a clean saucepan and stirring in the flour (this forms a thick paste). Continue stirring as the roux gently bubbles and cooks becoming brown in colour. Do not allow the roux to bubble too vigorously, or it will burn rather than brown. Stir in the strained sauce and very gently boil this for ¾ hour more.
Meanwhile, roast the venison in a preheated hot oven (Mk 8 - 450ºF - 230ºC) for 45 minutes (15 minutes per lb.)
Allow the venison to stand in a warm place for at least 10 minutes before serving. Meanwhile, check the sauce. If it's too thick, add a little more stock. If it is too thin, take the lid off the pan and continue to boil gently to reduce the liquid. Just before serving, stir in the cream but do not allow it to boil. Serve the meat with a full-bodied red wine, like a Burgundy or Chateauneuf du Pape.
To serve, carve the venison and arrange the slices on a large serving dish. Drain the syrup from a tin of peach halves, arrange the peaches around the meat and fill the hollows of the peaches with cranberry sauce. The contrast between the sour sauce and the sweetness of the peaches is ideal for a strong-tasting meat. The huntsman sauce should be served separately in a sauce boat and used sparingly (any that is left will freeze for a future occasion).