Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Roast Venison Haunch & Jerusalem Artichoke Mash

Lovely, juicy, rich venison is the perfect roast dinner in late autumn. I had my first proper venison in Stockholm several years ago and have been a convert ever since. It's terribly sad that I had to travel so far from home before being properly introduced to this meat, especially as we've got fabulous and well-managed deer right here.

I'm not sure whether it went out of fashion while I was growing up, I don't remember seeing it very often though. Fortunately, these days, finding a nice bit of deer isn't difficult.

Pre-heat the oven to 220°C, and take the meat out of the fridge to come up to room temperature for at least half an hour.

First thing to do with a bit of venison haunch is to season it with salt, pepper and rub with a little oil. Lay a sprig of rosemary or thyme on top (dried is ok, but don't overdo it) and then wrap with thinly sliced pancetta or other cured meat. Tuck a couple of bay leaves in amongst the pancetta and grind a final bit of pepper over the top.

Pop the joint in the oven and roast for 20 minutes, before turning down to 160°C, for a further 13 minutes per 500g.

When ready, place the cooked joint to one side, covered in foil to rest. Put the roasting tray over a low heat and give it a good scraping (de-glazing). Pour in a glug of red wine and a nice big spoon of redcurrant jelly. Stir until the alcohol has cooked out and the jelly dissolved, reduce until the sauce tastes as intense as you like it.
Jerusalem artichokes are delicious, nutty little roots full of fibre, iron and vitamin c. They do have a reputation for inducing wind, however mixing them with a similar amount of normal potatoes (to make mash) goes some way towards allieviating that particular after effect!

Just give them a good scrubbing, the same as you would potatoes, you can eat the skin quite safely and it has plenty of flavour. Boil the two up together and steam some greens over the top.
When tender, mash the 'chokes and potatoes up together with some butter, salt and pepper.

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