This red-wine roast venison recipe is one of my favorites I’ve made recently. It was adapted from a Barolo (a red wine from Northern Italy) beef recipe I found in the great cookbook “Trattoria” by Patricia Wells. I recommend that book for a lot of recipes in there as well, so check it out. I thought this one would adapt to venison well because it uses red wine to slowly roast/braise the meat which tenderizes it beautifully and leaves you with a flavorful sauce to drizzle over the meat and accompaniments (I really love this over a bed of buttered pasta as pictured above). By the way, I guess this is technically a braised venison recipe, although it could be roasted in an oven instead of simmered on the stovetop if you prefer. This recipe does take some time, but it is worth it. In fact, make it ahead, like many stews and roasts, the flavors continue to come together and this roast venison is even better the next day!
You could use any number of different venison cuts for this roast venison recipe but I’d reserve the naturally tender cuts (tenderloin & backstraps, in particular) for faster cooking recipes that are served medium rare. This dish is really designed for tougher cuts that benefit from the low, slow wet cooking in wine that does a beautiful job tenderizing the meat. Suggestions for cuts can be found below where I list the ingredients.
- 2 – 2.5 lbs boneless venison roast in one piece: Again, you can use any cuts you want here, but I prefer the tougher stew/roasting/braising cuts that are too tough for fast cooking. The slow cooking here breaks down any connective tissue and sinew so that you end up with tender, falling apart, juice meat. Sirloin, rump roast, rolled shoulder roasts and others are all good options. In the picture above, I used a round roast (basically the meat on the hind quarters of the deer minus the sirloin tip). It was rolled into a log and tied with kitchen twine to hold it together nicely during cooking.
- 1 bottle tannic red wine: The original recipe I adapted this from called for Barolo or Barbaresco, which would be great. But most of us aren’t wealthy enough to pour a whole bottle of $100 wine into the roasting pan. Any bold, tannic red wine will do. You could use a Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Cotes du Rhone, other Southern French reds, other full bodied Italian wines. They’ll all be fine as long as it tastes decent.
- 1/4 cup brandy: Ideally something nice like some Cognac but, again, don’t break the bank.
- 1/4 cup plus 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 2 carrots, cut into thin rounds
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 ribs of celery, cut into thin slices
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary
- 1 tsp black peppercorns, lightly crushed
- 1/2 cinnamon stick
- 4 whole cloves
- 2 medium onions, peeled and halved
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Pasta of your choice, cooked, drained and then dressed with a bit of melted butter, fresh rosemary and salt to taste, for serving
How to Cook The Roast Venison
- In a medium, heavy casserole or dutch oven with a lid, combine the venison, wine, brandy, 1/4 cup of olive oil, carrots, bay leaves, celery, rosemary, crushed pepper, and cinnamon stick. Stick a clove into each of the onion halves and add to the pot. Cover and refrigerate at least 12 hours or up to 24 hours, turning the meat to coat from time to time.
- At least 2 hours before cooking, remove from the fridge to bring to room temperature. Remove the beef from the marinade and pat dry but reserve the marinade. Pour it into another container and reserve. Rinse and dry the casserole and add the remaining 3 tbsp olive oil to the pot over moderately high heat. When hot but not smoking, add the venison and brown evenly on all sides, 3-4 minutes per side. Season the beef generously with salt and pepper.
- Add the marinade to the casserole, bring just to a simmer, reduce heat to very low and cover. Simmer gently until the meat is fork-tender, turning the meat from time to time, and always keeping the lid on to minimize evaporation of liquid. This will take at least 3 hours but up to 6 hours, depending on the cut of meat and just how tender your particular deer’s meat is. As I said, it is best to do this ahead so you aren’t panicking with guests there because your meat is still rubbery and hard. At the very least, start this roast venison early in the day. If it is done by early afternoon, simply let it cook (refrigerating as needed) and warm back up slowly just before serving.
- To Serve: Transfer the beef to a carving board. Cut the beef against the grain into thick slices and transfer to a warmed serving platter covered with foil. Alternatively, you can put the whole roast venison on the platter and cover with foil, waiting to slice at the table. While the meat rests, strain the cooking liquid and discard the solids. Return the liquid to heat, taste for seasoning, and if necessary, boil until reduced to about 1 cup. Spoon the sauce over the beef and serve immediately.
That’s it! As I mentioned above, this is good served with other sides, which can also get a drizzle of the flavorful juices. Above, I served it with pasta tossed with butter and fresh rosemary. Alternatively, you could serve over rice, with slices of polenta, alongside steamed vegetables, whatever!