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Roast venison with rosemary and garlic roast potatoes

A recipe for marinated roast venison by our food editor Blanche Vaughan
Andrew Montgomery

Did you know that venison is a super food, full of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals? This basically means that roast venison is a health food, yet another accolade to give the lean, delicious meat. It’s not a meat we eat hugely often in the UK, other than at restaurants, but it’s genuinely super easy to cook at home and has many benefits over lamb, beef and chicken (it’s also given rise to one of the greatest four-word jokes about food prices ever: “Venison’s dear, isn’t it?”). We love it in a venison ragù, venison chilli, burgers, or just roasted – as outlined here.

Something you should be wary of is that venison is a very lean meat – which is another health benefit – so you do risk it going dry if you overcook it. And yet follow our recipe for roast venison and you can’t put a food wrong (and anyway, if you feel at all concerned that it might overcook, just pull it out of the oven). 

“Fallow, roe and red deer all come into season in November,” explains House & Garden food editor Blanche Vaughan. “I particularly like the gentle, gamey flavour of fallow deer. Butterflying the meat helps it to soak up the marinade; it also shortens the cooking time and makes carving very easy.”

The key to this recipe is the marinade, which not only flavours the venison but keeps it moist as it cooks and ensures it doesn’t dry out. You really only need to give the roast venison 25-30 minutes in the oven – it feels quick but any more and the meat may risk drying out. A good 20-minute resting time will ensure it’s soft and tender when you carve it. Add any juices that come out during that time to the gravy for extra flavour.

For the roast potatoes

  • 1kg roasting potatoes, peeled
  • 150ml olive oil
  • 4 sprigs rosemary
  • 8 garlic cloves, unpeeled


  1. Cut the potatoes into 4cm chunks. Bring a saucepan of well-salted water to the boil. Add the potatoes and boil until tender, then drain.
  2. Heat the oven to 200°C/fan oven 180°C/mark 6.
  3. Choose a roasting tray big enough to fit the potatoes in one layer with some space around them. Pour the oil into the tray and heat in the oven for 5 minutes until very hot. Carefully add the potatoes, rosemary, garlic and a generous sprinkle of flaked salt.
  4. Roast for 25–30 minutes, until the potatoes are well browned and crisp.


Serves 6

For the marinade

1 red onion, thinly sliced
4tbsp pomegranate molasses
1tbsp juniper berries, crushed
1/2tsp ground cinnamon
Small bunch thyme
2 large rosemary sprigs
1/2 lemon, juiced
2tbsp olive oil

For the venison

1.5kg butterflied haunch of venison
1tbsp oil

For the sauce

150ml red wine
  1. Method

    Step 1

    Mix all the marinade ingredients in a bowl large enough to hold the meat with 1tsp fine salt and 1/2tsp ground black pepper. Place the meat in the bowl, massage the marinade into the meat and chill for at least 6 hours or overnight. Remove from the fridge at least 1 hour before cooking.

    Step 2

    Heat the oven to 200°C/fan oven 180°C/mark 6.

    Step 3

    Remove the meat from the bowl and spread the marinade over the base of a roasting tray. Season the meat with 1tsp flaked salt. Heat the oil in a frying pan and sear the meat on both sides for a few minutes to give it some colour. Then lay it out flat in the roasting tray, on top of the marinade.

    Step 4

    Roast for 25–30 minutes for rare to medium rare. Remove the meat to a plate and leave for at least 20 minutes in a warm place before slicing.

    Step 5

    Meanwhile, add the wine to the marinade in the roasting tray. Place on the hob over a high heat and scrape the caramelised sediment with a wooden spoon. Let the sauce reduce slightly, then strain it into a warm jug. Add any juices from the resting meat to the jug before serving.