Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Venison Roast Braised With Onions and Apples

We’re blessed to have venison in the freezer.  It's delicious lean meat and we both enjoy it.  It does require some care in preparation though, needing long cooking at low heat, preferably with some sort of braising liquid.  A slow cooker is almost always my first choice when preparing a venison roast.

I wanted to cook a venison roast last night but had no stock, wine, or beer on hand for braising.  Although I’ve used it in the past, I chose not to braise with coffee this time.  We had no fruit juice.

I wanted to use only ingredients we had on hand to make our dinner, so I did an inventory to see what I could use in place of my regular braising liquids. We had a lot of onions and some apples.

Since both onions and apples have a lot of moisture in them and both taste well with venison, I decided to try braising my roast with just the liquid these two ingredients would yield (plus a little vinegar), hoping it would be sufficient to produce a moist, tender roast. 

The roast turned out very well.  It was indeed moist and tender, and it was very flavourful.  I was pleased that there was enough left over to provide us us a second meal.

To braise my venison roast with onions and apples, I used:
  • a 1-1/2 pound bone-in venison shoulder roast
  • garlic powder
  • salt and coarsely ground pepper
  • 6 medium onions
  • 3 apples
  • a few bay leaves
  • rubbed sage
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar

I placed the roast in the bottom of the cooker and seasoned it generously with garlic powder, salt, and pepper.

I cut the onions in half and then sliced them, and I cut the apples into sections.  I covered the roast with the sliced onions and apples.  I sprinkled more salt and pepper and some rubbed sage over them and I added a few bay leaves.

Because onions and apples are both naturally sweet, I wanted a little acidity to provide a balanced flavour.  I added 1/4 cup of red wine vinegar.

I cooked the roast on low heat for 5 hours.  (This may vary with your slow cooker.  My new slow cooker is much less slow than my last one was.)

I removed the roast from the cooker, tented it with foil and let it rest for 10 minutes before slicing it.  It was tender enough that the bones came free with no flesh clinging to them but it still sliced cleanly across the grain.

After dinner, I used a slotted spoon to remove the vegetables from the slow cooker.  I discarded the apples and bay leaves but kept the onions and the cooking liquid.  These I put in my blender.

I pureed the onions and cooking liquid until they were smooth, then I transferred the purée to a jar, let it cool to room temperature, and stored it in the fridge.

I’ll make the leftover venison into a meat pie, using the purée as gravy.  Another fine meal to look forward to!  

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