Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Roast Venison Haunch with Clapshot and Red Onion Gravy

Roast venison haunch with onion gravy, clapshot and peas

This home cooked meal is very different from ones which I usually write about. That is because it is one in which I only had a very small hand in the cooking process, instead being largely free as a house visitor to enjoy a beer or two as I watched everything come together. The main focus of the meal was a beautiful big five or six pound venison haunch which was to be roasted and enjoyed with some clapshot, peas and red onion gravy.

Bone in venison haunch joint

The venison had been frozen so it had been carefully defrosted in the fridge over the course of a couple of days. The cooking time I'm told was then calculated using the format/equation of firstly 30 minutes at 220C/450F/Gas mark 8, followed by 12 minutes per 500g at 170C/350F/Gas Mark 3.  I don't use metric (only imperial) but I wasn't responsible for the cooking, so didn't need to perform the necessary conversion calculations.

Butter is rubbed on to the venison haunch

While the oven was preheating, the venison was washed, patted dry with kitchen paper and laid on a lightly oiled deep roasting tray. It was then liberally rubbed with butter before the tray was covered with a large sheet of tinfoil.

Vension haunch is covered with tinfoil for roasting

The venison went in to the oven for the allotted period of time (best part of two hours, I think) and it was time for a couple of beers or so.

Red onion is sliced for making gravy

When it was getting nearly time for the venison to come out of the oven, a red onion was peeled, halved and thinly sliced.

Red onion and sage is added to melted butter

Around 2 ounces (50g) of butter was melted in a saucepan before the onion was added with half a teaspoon of dried sage and the lid placed on top. The onion was left alone to slowly cook down and soften over a very gentle heat for ten minutes.

Swede turnip and potatoes for clapshot

Clapshot is in the first instance a combination of potatoes and turnip which are cooked and mashed. When this this prep was being done, I was surprised to see the cook for the day wasn't peeling the potatoes. I had never tried making clapshot with unpeeled potatoes before but the idea really did work and this is the way I'll make it in future.

The potatoes and turnip went in to a large pot of cold, salted water and the water was brought to a simmer for about fifteen to twenty minutes, just until softened.

Turnip and potatoes are peeled for making clapshot

When the venison came out of the oven, I thought it was definitely ready. A consensus of opinion, however, saw it put back in for a further ten minutes. This for me saw it being just that little bit overcooked, though it was still tender and absolutely delicious.

Roasted venison haunch is rested

The venison had to be recovered with foil and left to rest for fifteen minutes.

Roast vension haunch

The onion by this time was beautifully cooked down and softened. in the butter.

Red onions have cooked down in butter

The juices from the venison cooking tray went in to the pot with the onion and was brought to a strong simmer to reduce and thicken the gravy.

Venison juices are added to softened onions

The venison was then carved and it would easily have served six people generous portions.

Starting to carve venison

The potatoes and turnip were drained and left to steam for five minutes. If you don't let it steam before you add some butter and white pepper to mash, you will have a soggy and mushy clapshot.

Butter is added to potato and turnip for mashing

When the mashing was done, a tablespoon of freshly chopped chives was stirred through.

Chives are stirred through mashed potatoes and turnip

I actually managed to rescue the bone of the venison haunch before it was discarded. I took it home with me to make some fresh game stock!

Venison is carved and ready for plating

The red onion gravy was now lusciously thick and happily bubbling away.

Red onion gravy

The meal portions were plated up and we all tucked in and enjoyed, a couple of bottles of red wine of course helping everyhing go down just perfect.

Red wine is served with roast venison and clapshot

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