This recipe produced a beautifully tender and tasty roast joint for a Sunday dinner. Venison is lean so the butter and bacon, and slow roasting over cider helped to keep it moist, as well as providing a lovely gravy.
Joint: 1 fallow venison shoulder on the bone (approximately 1–1.5 kg); 2 rashers back bacon; ½ tsp crushed dried juniper berries; ½ tsp ground black pepper; 4 slices unsalted butter
Roasting liquor: 1 x 500 ml bottle dry, farmhouse cider; 1 tbsp cider vinegar; 1 bay leaf; bunch of thyme; 1 stem rosemary; 1 carrot, peeled and roughly chopped; 1 small onion, roughly chopped; 1 green end of leek, roughly chopped; 4 small Jerusalem artichokes, peeled and halved; 1 quince, quartered or 4 small, Japanese quince, halved; 2 sticks celery, roughly chopped; ½ small fennel bulb, halved again; fennel seed, allspice, coriander, crushed; small piece cinnamon; parsley stalks; 4 garlic cloves, whole
Get a large roasting dish with a trivet and put all the liquor ingredients, including the cider and vinegar into this. Place the trivet in the dish and top up the liquid with water so that the level is just under the bottom of the trivet.
Place a piece of string long enough to tie the joint onto the trivet then place the venison onto this. Season the top of the venison with juniper and black pepper then place slices of butter onto this to cover the joint. Cover with the bacon then tie to hold the bacon in place. Place in the oven. After 10 minutes turn the temperature down to 150ºC. Roast for 3 hours 30 minutes.
Take the meat out of the oven and set aside. Place the now braised artichokes, quince, carrots and fennel with the meat. Strain the rest of the liquor through a sieve into a jug. Allow to separate then skim off the fat and keep. Place the liquid into a pan, boil vigorously and reduce to about two thirds. Pour back into a jug. Warm some of the separated fat in the pan. Add about 1tbsp plain flour to make a roux. Slowly stir back in the reduced liquor to make a just thickened gravy.