Venison is the leanest of all the red meats and is comparatively low in cholesterol. Most venison eaten in Europe is farmed in New Zealand, and is surprisingly inexpensive to buy. Ask your butcher to bone the joint of venison for you. Calvados is a delicious French brandy made from apples and is available from off-licences and large supermarkets. Serve this dish with a selection of root vegetables.
Preparation time : 40 minutes,
Cooking time : 2 hours,
Oven : Preheat to 200°C (400°F, gas mark 6),
Calories per serving: 735
4 lb (1.8 kg) leg or 3 lb (1.4 kg) shoulder boned venison
1 venison sausage or 4 slices streaky bacon
1 teaspoon butter or vegetable oil
1 clove garlic
1/2 teaspoon marjoram
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 pint (285 ml) dry or medium-dry cider
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
4 fl oz (115 ml) beef or venison stock
1/2 glass Calvados
1. If using venison sausage, remove the meat from the casing. Add the butter or vegetable oil to a frying pan and saute the meat over a moderately high heat for 5 minutes until it is partially cooked.
2. If using bacon, cut the rashers into 1/4in (5mm) pieces, blanch in boiling water for 3 minutes, then drain, pat dry and add them to an oiled frying pan.
3. Crush the garlic and peel and chop the apple and onion into 1/4 in (5 mm) pieces. Add the garlic, apple and onion to the pan and cook for 5 minutes, while stirring, until the vegetables are tender.
4. Add the marjoram, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper and cook for a further minute. Remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool.
5. Lay the venison leg or shoulder flat and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Spread the sausage or bacon mixture over the flat surface of the venison, then roll up and tie the meat in three places with string.
6. Heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a casserole dish just large enough to hold the venison. Brown the venison over a high heat for 1-2 minutes on each side. Add the cider, bay leaf and allspice and bring to a simmer.
7. Lay a piece of greaseproof paper over the venison and cover it with a lid. Turn the oven temperature down to 190°C (375°F, gas mark 5) and cook for 1 1/2 hours. Add more cider if it evaporates too quickly.
8. Preheat a serving plate. Remove the casserole from the oven, place the venison on the serving plate and keep warm.
9. Place casserole over moderately high heat and add the beef stock (or venison stock made from the bones), and the Calvados. Boil uncovered until it has reduced down to 1/2 pirit (285 ml). Add the lemon juice, adjust seasoning and stir.
10. Slice the venison into 1/2 in (15 mm) thick slices and serve with the sauce separately.
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