To Roast a Haunch of Venison

3½ to 4½ hours.


To give venison the flavour and the tenderness so much prized by epicures, it must be well kept; and by taking the necessary precautions, it will hang a considerable time without detriment. Wipe it with soft dry cloths wherever the slightest moisture appears on the surface, and dust it plentifully with freshly-ground pepper or powdered ginger, to preserve it from the flies. The application of the pyroligneous or acetic acid would effectually protect it from these, as well as from the effects of the weather; but the joint must then be, not only well washed, but soaked for some considerable time, and this would be very detrimental.

To prepare the venison for the spit, wash it slightly with tepid water or merely wipe it thoroughly with damp cloths, and dry it afterwards with clean ones; then lay over the fat side a large sheet of thickly-buttered paper, and next a paste of flour and water about three quarters of an inch thick; cover this again with two or three sheets of stout paper, secure the whole well with twine, and lay the haunch to a sound clear fire; baste the paper immediately with butter or clarified dripping, and roast the joint from three hours and a half to four and a halt, according to its weight and quality. Doe venison will require half an hour less time than buck venison. Twenty minutes before the joint is done remove the paste and paper, baste the meat in every part with butter, and dredge it very lightly with flour; let it take a pale brown colour, and send it to table as hot as possible with gravy in a tureen, and good currant jelly. It is not now customary to serve any other sauces with it; but should the old-fashioned sharp or sweet sauce be ordered, the receipt for it will be found.

Obs.—The kind of gravy appropriate to venison is a matter on which individual taste must decide. When preparations of high savour are preferred to the pure flavour of the game, the Espagnole (or Spanish sauce). can be sent to table with it; or either of the rich English gravies which precede it. When a simple unflavoured one is better liked, some mutton cutlets freed entirely from fat, then very slightly broiled over a quick fire, and stewed gently down in a light extract of mutton prepared by Liebeg’s directions, Chapter I., for about an hour, will produce an excellent plain gravy: it should be seasoned with salt and pepper (or fine cayenne) only. When venison abounds, it should be used for the gravy instead of mutton.