Making the Most of Game Meats - Braising Venison

Game meat is the meat of animals that are hunted and killed in the wild and are typically hung to flavour the meat before butchery. Game animals include large animals such as deer and wild boar, small animals such as rabbits and hares as well as birds such as pheasant, wild turkey, partridges, woodcock, grouse and many more.

Game meat is very flavoursome and the age of the meat will depend very much on the age at which the animal was killed. In this way you cannot be certain that game meat is young  which is why game tends to be stewed slowly to tenderize the meat and extract the maximum flavour from it.

Of course, certain game meats such as rabbit, venison, wild boar, pheasant, partridge, pigeon etc are farmed these days and the meat is young and tender, which lends itself for flash-frying, barbecuing and kebab making.

In actual fact, the eating of game meat goes back directly to our hunter-gatherer ancestors where, before the advent of agriculture and the domestication of animals, game was the only kind of meat available. Traditionally the meat would have been slowly pit-roasted with hot rocks. This is a very efficient and slow method of cooking that both maximises the retained flavour of the meat and allows it to tenderize as it cooks. The closest modern equivalent would be slow braising in the oven.

The following recipe for braised venison approximates this early cooking method.

Braised Venison with Mustard and Porter

1 haunch of venison (about 1.5kg)
6 strips of streaky bacon
600ml porter beer (or stout)
1 tsp brown sugar
1 sprig thyme
3 tbsp Dijon mustard
salt and black pepper, to taste
3 tbsp brown sugar

Spread the mustard over the entire surface of he meat then flatten the bacon by running the back of a knife along it then lay the bacon over the meat. Season with black pepper and place in a roasting dish.

Pour the beer around the meat and add 1 tsp sugar and a sprig of thyme. Cover with a lid or kitchen foil then place in an oven pre-heated to 160°C and allow to braise slowly for about 120 minutes. During cooking base the meat every 20 minutes or so with the beer to ensure it remains moist.

At the end of the cooking time pour the beer through a sieve into a saucepan. Remove the bacon from the meat and sprinkle the remaining brown sugar over the meat. Return to the oven and roast, uncovered, for a further 20 minutes to glaze the meat. After this time remove the meat from the oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes before carving and serving.

In the meantime, place the pan containing the stock on the hob, bring to a simmer and allow to simmer whilst the meat is finishing. Serve the braised venison with roast potatoes and green vegetables and accompany with the sauce.

Users Reading this article are also interested in:
Top Searches on Meat Recipes:
Pepper Game Cake Baking Game
About The Author,
Dyfed Lloyd Evans runs the Celtnet Recipes site where you can find many more recipes for game meats as well as more recipes for venison.