Venison Slow-Roast Magic (and the secrets of gravy and jus)

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In the school holidays I like to try and cook something I haven’t cooked before. Now I have cooked many venison recipes, but never roasted a leg of venison. So today was the day to cook a long, slow leg of venison. We were given this by a neighbour who got the deer himself. It is always nice to know where your food comes from, and this one is a wild one, our neighbour caught.

So I prepared it by coating it in flour, a good drizzle of our own olive oil and plenty of salt and pepper. Now Usually I would sear meat first, and I probably should have put it in my hot cast iron frypan to sear each side, to lock in the juices…but I kinda forgot. I got to excited getting the rosemary and garlic together. So I figured if I was slow roasting this like a leg of lamb, I would season it the same way. So I made some slashed in the flesh with a knife, and poked in some rosemary from the garden (freshly washed by the rain), and some garlic cloves.

Covering tightly with foil (I really really need a roasting dish with a lid…), this was ready for the oven. I set the oven to somewhere between 150-175 degrees C, and in she went.

A couple of hours later, I popped in some potatoes and kumera to roast. I even decided to make Yorkshire Pudding (although usually done with roast beef, our family loves it with gravy so why not!). And some mixed veggies finished the meal off. The venison was a little dry, but with gravy it was melt-in-your-mouth material. Divine! The garlic and rosemary really added character to the meat, and to the gravy which was made in the roasting pan. To make the gravy, I add Bisto powder (or any other gravy powder) to the roasting pan, with some veggie water, using a whisk to break up all the yummy crunchy bits. I then pop it straight on the gas hobs. I whisk it every now and then. Once it comes to the boil it should thicken. If it doesn’t, add some more gravy powder or make a paste out of flour and gravy in a separate container and add it to the gravy.

If I am making my own gravy from scratch (the recipe is different each time), I use a couple of tablespoons flour, a tablespoon or two of beef stock powder, some soy sauce, worstershire sauce and herbs. Sometimes I add some bbq sauce to give the gravy some punchy flavour. If I am making a red wine jus, I start by pouring in 1 cup dry red wine, bring to the boil and add 1-2 C beef stock. Sometimes I need to make a paste out of flour and wine-stock and then add it to thicken. Add some salt and pepper and you are good to go.

The day after this yummy roast, I cut up the remaining meat and made a delish meat pie. I made my own pastry, and cooked up the remaining veggie, meat and gravy in a small pot (adding some more stock if needed). I added the cooked up leftovers to the pie dish (lined with pastry), then topped it with a pastry lid, brushed with egg white. So very yum. No waste, and empty plates. Perfect.

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