Saturday, December 4, 2010

To roest Veneson/To bake Veneson

A Propre New Book of Cookery [1545]

Readers, both gentle and common, I have for you today roasted venison with sauce, the first in a three-part series about medieval venison, which you can read about in this informative article. "But Jana!" I hear you say. "Where can get venison in case I want to replicate this recipe?" Never fear. I have a list of options:

*Get a hunting license
*Find a friend who hunts
*Buy it from specialty shops for large amounts of cash
*Find a butcher that processes wild game for people. Sometimes people do not come back to pick up their meat, because they no longer want to pay for the service.
*Time travel to medieval England for authentic venison (only recommended if you are a smooth talker, the medieval penalty for poaching the King's deer is a hand or your life).

To bake Veneson.
Take nothing but pepper and salte, but let it have inough, and if the Veneson be lene lard it through with bakon.

To bake Venison- Revised
Take nothing but pepper and salt, but let it have enough, and if the venison be lean, lard it through with bacon.

To bake Venison- Further revised
Sprinkle healthy amounts of salt and pepper on the roast. Lay strips of bacon over the top, and bake until it is done to your liking.

To roest Veneson
Rosted Veneson must have vinegre suger and sinamon and butter boyled upon a chafyng disshe with coles, but the sauce maie not be to tarte and then laie the veneson upon the sauce.

To roest Veneson- Revised
Roasted venison must have vinegar, sugar and cinnamon and butter boiled, upon a chafing dish with coals, but the sauce may not be too tarte, and then lay the venison upon the sauce.

To roest Veneson- Further revised
For a lovely sauce for the baked venison, melt 1/2 cup butter in a pan over low heat. Stir in about 1 t. cinnamon and 1 T. sugar. Add a splash of apple cider vinegar until it is tangy, but not sour. I found about 1 T. worked well. Heat until bubby and hot. Pour into a dish, then serve the venison on top. An even better idea would be to put the venison on a dish and then pour the sauce over the top.

Verdict: I will admit that before making this recipe, I was really disparaging about medieval people's love of sugar and meat together. It sounds wrong. It sounds stupid. But in this recipe, it is soooooooooo right. It's... it's really good. Now that I've had it, I understand why it works so perfectly when it doesn't sound as if it should.

First of all, the bacon. Wild game is very very lean. If you lay bacon across the top before cooking, the fat from the bacon will slooooooooowly melt and be absorbed into the meat, making it more tender and delicious. It is like an automatic basting device.

Second of all, the sauce. It's sort of the same principle as sweet and sour sauce, but better. Instead of a sticky pink goo (which I like, by the way), it is a smooth buttery sauce that absorbs into the meat, which desperately needs a little extra fat. Yes, fat. Don't look at me like that, this is not a cow that has been standing in a field and napping for all its life, this is a wild deer. The vinegar (I used a strawberry infused apple cider vinegar) adds just a little bit of tang. You will have to trust me on this, the sauce was really delicious. Husband said he would very happily eat it on steak, and I think it would go fabulously on pork. Pork goes well with a little bit of sweet, and 21st century pigs are ridiculously lean compared to the pig breeds of the past.


Karen K. said...

So how did you acquire your venison? I think I've only ever eaten it when it was a good hunting year and my dad bagged a deer. It appears you still have both your hands so I'm guessing you didn't opt for the time-travel.

PS -- sounds delicious -- and I do love fruit with meat, especially gamey things. Fruit's wonderful with duck, which is much easier to find.

Jana said...

Well, I AM a smooth talker, but *this* time I acquired it from the sister of a friend, whose husband is a hunter.

Jenny Jo said...

That is a beautiful piece of meat! Wow! I love venison so much. Also happy to see you getting medieval once again. (A lot of medieval meat recipes use nutmeg...surprisingly nice.)

Jana said...

It is nice, isn't it? The husband of the sister of my friend did a good job. :D

Betsy said...

Ever since I read my wedding gift copy of Joy of Cooking (late 70's edition), I've been fascinated with larding as described there. They instruct you to take long strips of fat and pull them through the meat with a needle. Have you ever tried that?

Jana said...

I have not! It has always sounded disquieting. But I bet it'd be a great technique for dry, dry venison.

Nonna said...

Jana, this is so Hubs just bagged a deer and we are always looking for new ways to cook venison. I'm making this roast when we return from vacation. People just rave about our recipe for "Bambi Burgers" !

Jana said...

Great! Let me know how it turns out.