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Perfect match: pot-roasted venison with cab sav

You'll need

80 ml (1/3 cup) olive oil 2 onions, finely chopped 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped Rind of ½ orange, removed with a peeler 2 tsp juniper berries, crushed 500 ml cabernet sauvignon 8 (3.5cm-thick) pieces of venison osso buco 250 gm (1¼ cups) small green lentils 500 ml (2 cups) veal stock   Roast beetroot and shallots 1 bunch each of baby red beetroot and baby golden beetroot, trimmed, scrubbed and halved 12 golden shallots 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil 2 tbsp cider vinegar 2 tbsp thyme 1 tbsp brown sugar


  • 01
  • Heat half the oil in a saucepan, add onion and garlic and cook over medium heat until soft (7-10 minutes). Add orange rind and juniper berries and cook until fragrant (2-3 minutes). Add wine, bring to the boil (3-5 minutes), reduce heat to low and simmer to infuse (5 minutes), then cool. Place venison in a non-reactive dish (see note), pour over cooled wine mixture, turn to coat, cover and refrigerate overnight, turning occasionally.
  • 02
  • Preheat oven to 150C. Remove venison from marinade and pat dry with absorbent paper. Strain marinade, reserving solids and liquid separately. Heat remaining olive oil in a casserole over medium-high heat, seal venison, turning occasionally until brown (3-5 minutes), transfer to a plate and set aside. Reduce heat to medium, add reserved vegetables to casserole and cook until heated through (2-3 minutes). Add lentils, stirring to combine. Place venison on top, pour over veal stock and reserved marinade, bring to the simmer (3-5 minutes). Cover, place in oven and cook, turning meat halfway through cooking, until meat is tender and just falling off the bone (2-2½ hours).
  • 03
  • Meanwhile, for roast beetroot and shallots, combine beetroot, shallots and olive oil in a roasting pan and season to taste. Roast until tender (1-1½ hours). Remove from oven, add remaining ingredients, toss to combine and keep warm. Serve venison with lentils and sauce spooned over, and roast beetroot and shallots to the side.

Note You'll need to begin this recipe a day ahead. For non-reactive dishes, use glass, ceramic or plastic when marinating to prevent the acidic nature of marinades reacting with metal dishes and imparting a metallic taste.

Over the past few years, this full bodied red's popularity has been on the wane, eclipsed by big shirazes and sexy pinot noirs. This is a real shame since Australia produces some fabulous cabernet sauvignons - wines that go brilliantly with robustly flavoured food, especially dishes such as this rich pot-roasted venison. The grape's great asset is its thick skin: packed with colour, flavour and tannin. This helps give the wine lots of deep, complex flavour, and - importantly - lots of body and grip in the mouth. The flavours in this dish read like the construction of a perfume: the sweet bass earthiness of beetroot, shallots and lentils; the savoury, umami background from the stock; some resinous herbal notes from the rosemary, bay and juniper; and then top notes of orange peel. All these characters also perfectly mirror cabernet's depth, savoury quality and perfume. - MAX ALLEN

At A Glance

  • Serves 4 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 4 people

Featured in

Aug 2008

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