Venison

Venison is the meat of the deer and is classified as GAME. The meat is lean and dark, with little fat. Good venison meat should be dark red in colour, with creamy white fat.

Venison is not always readily available and can therefore be comparatively expensive. With the exception of venison which has been minced , all cuts are improved by being marinated in an oil and/or wine marinade before cooking. Venison should also be BARDED with streaky bacon or cooked in a generous amount of fat and basted frequently during cooking.

Allow 4 to 6 ounces of boned meat per person, 10 to 12 ounces of meat on the bone, and for chops and cutlets, one per serving. 8 ounces of fillet should be allowed per serving.

The prime cuts of venison are leg and loin, which form the haunch, and saddle. All of these cuts are usually roasted. The neck and breast need prolonged cooking and are excellent braised. The shoulder is ideal for stews and pies. Venison chops, cutlets and steaks can be grilled or fried. Roasting and Braising Most cuts, except chops, cutlets and steaks, are suitable for this method. Venison is rarely dry roasted, as are chicken, lamb etc. but braised, the liquid helping to moisten the meat during the cooking process. The meat should be placed in a roasting tin or large casserole with fat and a mixture of the oil and/or wine in which it was marinated; it may also be covered with slices of streaky bacon. Sometimes vegetables and herbs are added to the cooking juices. The meat is best roasted in an oven preheated to very hot 450°F (Gas

Mark 8, 230°C) for the first 30 minutes. Then reduce the heat to moderate 350 ‘F (Gas Mark 4, 180°C). The meat should be basted every 20 minutes with the juices in the tin or casserole.

The traditional accompaniments to roast venison are a tart fruit sauce, made with such fruits as redcurrants or cran- berries, and thin gravy. Cooking Time

25 minutes to the pound plus

25 minutes. If you are using a meat thermometer, the temperature should register

185°F.

Stewing

Shoulder of venison and the other less expensive cuts are best for stewing. They should be cooked in a mixture of fat and stock or wine. The stew should be allowed to become completely cold before reheating and serving, so the fat can be skimmed from the surface and discarded.

Frying and Grilling Chops, cutlets and steaks can be cooked by both of these methods.

The grill must be preheated to very hot. Brush the meat liberally with melted vegetable fat, dripping or oil. Grill the meat for 2 minutes on each side. Reduce the heat to low and continue cooking the meat until it is done. To fry, use a generous amount of vegetable fat, dripping or oil, or a mixture of butter and oil. Fry the meat over moderate heat for 5 minutes on each side.

Reduce the heat to low and continue frying, turning the meat occasionally, until it is done.

Cooking Time

10 to

15 minutes for steaks,

30 to minutes for chops and

25 to

30 minutes for cutlets.

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