Winter is here which means hunting season, translating to venison.  If  properly butchered and cooked venison is both very healthy and delicious to eat.  The secret is either to cook it hot and fast, or low and slow.  Our recipe of the week, Shoulder of Venison, from our cookbook of the week, Karoo Kitchen by Sydda Essop, is a perfect example of how to braise venison slowly to get the most out of it.  When we cook rolled shoulder of venison at Wickedfood Cooking School, we add a few extra tricks including marinating the meat before rolling it, and then spreading fried chopped mushrooms to the inside of the meet before rolling it and covering the outside with streaky bacon.  We also add the bones to the roasting pan which adds tremendous depth of flavour to the accompanying sauce.   

(Photograph by © Craig Fraser, courtesy of Quivertree Publications.)

1 shoulder of venison, deboned
125g streaky bacon
500ml buttermilk
2T  butter
2 onions, chopped
1 beef stock cube, dissolved in 1 cup water

For the sauce:

½ packet oxtail soup powder
2T dry white wine
salt and/or Aromat seasoning to taste
1t black pepper
1 packet (250g) fruit-cake mix

  • Arrange the bacon strips to cover the inside of the shoulder, roll and secure with kitchen string. Marinate overnight in buttermilk and pat dry with a paper towel the next day.
  • Heat the butter in a heavy-based casserole pot and fry the onions until lightly browned. Remove.
  • Add more butter, if necessary, and brown the meat.
  • Add the beef stock and fried onions and simmer slowly for 2 hours until the meat is tender. Allow to cool slightly before carving the meat into slices.

To make the sauce

  • Dissolve the oxtail soup powder in 2 cups of water and add the wine, salt and/or Aromat, pepper and fruit-cake mix.
  • Simmer slowly in the pot that the shoulder was cooked in, until the sauce is thick and creamy. Layer the sliced meat and sauce, and bake at 180°C until golden brown. Serve hot.

Serves 2-4