Roe Deer is probably my favourite meat. Think you like venison? Wait till you’ve tasted wild Roe Deer. The loin – or fillet – will probably be about 25cm long, maybe a bit longer. This will feed six in our house. It’s not cheap but it is a real and rare treat. In fact rare is how you should eat it.
Pat the dear deer dry.
Roll in a mixture of crushed juniper berries, black pepper and sea salt.
Have a large heavy-based roasting pan on the hob and heat golden rapeseed oil till smoking.
Immediately sear the deer on all sides till a golden crust has formed. This will take about 10 minutes if you are doing it carefully. Don’t move the meat around in the pan. You need to be brave and leave it. And leave it again! Then turn it. When it’s brown all over, put it in a hot oven – 200C for no more than 20 minutes if you like it rare. 25 for medium. 30 for well done – but please don’t go there!
Remove from the pan onto a warm plate and tent with foil. Let it rest for 15-20 minutes. At this point you can return the roasties and the carrots that you part-cooked yesterday, to the oven..
Put the pan back on the hob. Add a scant scattering of flour. De-glaze the pan with deep red wine, and some meat stock, stirring all the time. Then add a tablespoon or two of redcurrant jelly. Bring to the boil. Taste and season. Pour into a hot jug.
Carve the deer on the diagonal, not too thin. Serve on a smear of parsnip puree with roasted potato and celeriac, roasted Chantenay carrots and dark greens. And the gravy.
Merry Christmas lunch in under an hour? Yup. It’s possible.