Last week some friends of ours gave us a venison roast. I've never cooked with venison before so I wanted to make sure I did it right but wasn't sure what "right" was. The only venison I had before this was some venison jerky and it was kind of gross. I had heard that the taste of the meat is really determined by the way that the meat is handled and processed and I'm assuming the venison I had before was probably not from the best source. I knew that our friend had the meat processed properly and the roast looked pretty amazing.
I found a recipe that I thought would let the meat shine and went for it. I sliced the roast in half lengthwise and then marinated it overnight in an olive oil, red wine vinegar, thyme and crushed garlic mixture. It was then seared and finished in the oven until it was medium rare. It was probably some of the most tender, flavorful meat I have ever eaten. None of the gaminess that I've heard of, and it made me want to get a hold of more venison and stock up the freezer.
adapted from Epicurious
3 pound roast of venison, cut into 6- by 3-inch pieces
2 heads garlic, cloves separated and smashed
2 tablespoons thyme leaves, lightly crushed
4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns, slightly cracked
1/4 cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon kosher salt
Toss venison with garlic, savory, vinegar, allspice, peppercorns, and 1/4 cup oil in a sealable bag. Marinate, chilled, turning bag occasionally, at least 8 hours.
Bring venison to room temperature, about 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 450°F with rack in middle.
Discard marinade and pat meat dry. Sprinkle on all sides with 1 tablespoon kosher salt, then 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper. Heat remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmers, then brown meat on all sides in 2 or 3 batches, 3 to 4 minutes per batch. Transfer to a shallow baking pan.
Roast until venison registers 125°F on an instant-read thermometer (inserted 2 inches horizontally into meat) for rare, 5 to 8 minutes (depending on thickness of meat). Let stand on a cutting board 10 minutes before slicing across the grain.