Roast Saddle of Venison

Roast Saddle of Venison is a delicious and impressive dish for a luncheon or dinner party. It also makes an interesting alternative to the more traditional roasts served on Christmas Day. Serve it with roast potatoes, braised celery and Carottes Vichy.

Accompany with a rich, full-bodied Bur-gundy, such as Gevrey-Chambertin.

1 X 5 lb. saddle of venison

1 tablespoon salt

2 tablespoons black peppercorns, crushed

8 slices streaky bacon

16 fl. oz. home-made beef stock

2 oz. butter

2 tablespoons flour

3 tablespoons redcurrant jelly

5 fl. oz. sour cream

4 fl. oz. port

1 pint red wine

2 garlic cloves

4 fl. oz. olive oil

1 medium-sized onion, thinly sliced

1 carrot, scraped and thinly sliced

8 black peppercorns

1 thyme spray

1 bay leaf

First prepare the marinade. In a large, shallow dish, combine all the marinade ingredients and stir well to blend. Add the venison to the dish and set aside to marinate at room temperature for 8 hours or overnight, basting occasionally.

Preheat the oven to very hot 450°F (Gas Mark 8, 230°C).

Remove the venison from the marinade and pat it dry with kitchen paper towels. Pour the marinade through a fine wire strainer into a medium-sized bowl and set aside. Discard the contents of the strainer.

Using your fingertips, rub the meat all over with the salt and crushed pepper-corns. Put the venison on a rack in a large, deep roasting tin. Arrange the slices of bacon over the top of the meat. Pour the reserved marinade and stock into the roasting tin. Place the tin in the oven and roast for 30 minutes.

Reduce the temperature to moderate 350°F (Gas Mark 4, 180°C), and cook the venison, basting every 15 minutes, for a further l to U hours or until the meat is tender when pierced with the point of a sharp knife.

Remove the roasting tin from the oven. Using two large forks, transfer the venison to a carving board. Discard the pieces of bacon. Keep the venison warm while you make the sauce.

With a slotted spoon or bulb baster, skim off and discard any excess fat from the surface of the cooking juices. Set aside.

In a medium-sized saucepan, melt the butter over moderate heat. Remove the pan from the heat and, with a wooden spoon, stir in the flour to make a smooth paste. Gradually add 6 fluid ounces of the cooking juices, stirring constantly. Return the pan to the heat and bring the sauce to the boil, stirring constantly. Cook the sauce for 2 to 3 minutes or until it is thick and smooth.

Reduce the heat to low, add the red-currant jelly, sour cream and port to the sauce and, stirring constantly, continue to cook for a further 2 minutes or until the redcurrant jelly has dissolved. Pour the sauce into a warmed sauccboat and serve immediately, with the venison.

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