Roast Saddle of Venison

This fabulous dish combines traditional Scottish food and flavours.

Roast Saddle of Venison from Around Britain Dairy CookbookPreparation time – 40 minutes
Cooking time – 11⁄4–11⁄2 hours
Calories per portion – 513 Kcal
Fat per portion – 18g
of which saturated – 7.5g
Serves – 8

Venison 3.2–3.6kg (7–8lb) prepared saddle, removed from refrigerator 2–3 hours before cooking, to bring to room temperature
Butter 150g (5oz), softened
Juniper berries 2 tsp, crushed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Un-smoked, rindless streaky bacon rashers 12
Red dessert apples 4 medium to large
Unsalted butter 40g (11⁄2oz)
Soft light brown sugar 1 tbsp
Lemon 1, strained juice only
Whisky 4 tbsp
Plain flour 1 tbsp
Red wine 150ml (1⁄4 pint)
Chicken stock 300–450ml (1⁄2–3⁄4 pint)
Redcurrant jelly to garnish

1 Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas 6. Wipe the saddle with kitchen paper to remove any blood and particles of bone. Blend the butter with the berries and smear over the top of the saddle.

2 Season the saddle well and cover the top with the bacon – weaving together like basketweave. Secure with thin string by sliding it under and along the ribcage on each side, and tying on top. Place the saddle in a roasting tin and cook for 20 minutes.

3 Reduce the oven temperature to 190°C/375°F/Gas 5. Remove the venison from the oven and loosely cover it with foil. Cook for 1–11⁄4 hours – or until done to you liking – basting frequently. Test by inserting the tip of a knife into the flesh – if the juice runs slightly red, it should be medium-done.

4 Meanwhile, cut each apple in half and remove the core. Place the butter, sugar, lemon juice and whisky in a lidded frying pan and heat until melted. Place the apples cut sides down in the pan and baste. Cover and cook for 15–20 minutes, turning halfway, and basting until the apples are softened. Keep warm.

5 Transfer the saddle from the roasting tin onto a large serving platter. Remove the string and loosely cover with the foil. Leave to stand in a warm place (not the oven) while making the gravy.

6 Skim off fat from the roasting juices until you have 2–3 tbsp left. Stir in the flour, add the red wine and bring to the boil, scraping the residue from the pan bottom, and adding the stock as the mixture thickens. Strain the sauce into a clean saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and allow to simmer.

7 Remove the apples from the pan, brush with redcurrant jelly and arrange around the saddle. Strain the sauce into a jug and serve with sautéed potatoes and peeled roasted beetroot or red cabbage with chestnuts.

Cook’s Tip
Take care not to over-cook the venison, as the meat will become dry. Also remember that the meat will continue cooking in its own heat when removed from the oven, and while you make the gravy.

Recipe taken from Around Britain Dairy Cookbook.

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