Haunch of venison with red wine and tangy beetroot puree

Paul Rankin creates a ruby red venison dish complementing the rich gamey meat with a red wine sauce and zingy beetroot puree
By Paul Rankin
Haunch of venison with red wine and tangy beetroot puree
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 2 hours 45 minutes
  • Prep Time: 40 minutes
  • Effort: medium


  • 750 g venison leg meat
  • 2 beetroot
  • 2 tbsp cracked black pepper
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 5 tbsp butter, cold and diced
  • 1 tbsp thyme, leaves onlyfresh or dried
  • 300 ml red wine
  • sugar, to taste
  • sprig thyme, to garnish
  • large leaf spinach, with any big stalks picked out
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • horseradish, grated

Tangy beetroot purée

  • 350 g cooked beetroot
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 3 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tomatoes, skinned, seeded and chopped
  • 6 tbsp stock, or bouillon
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • pinchsalt and black pepper


1. Have your butcher trim the venison of as much sinew as possible. (Ideally seam out an entire muscle, this will give a piece of meat entirely sinew-free.)

2. Scrub beetroot then wrap in foil and roast in low oven (140ºC) until tender, approx 1 ½ - 2 hrs depending on size.

3. For the beetroot purée: Place all the puree ingredients in an ovenproof dish, and cover tightly with foil. Cook in the same oven as the beetroots for 1-1.5 hours.

4. Remove the purée ingredients from the oven, and puree in a blender or food processor. Leave a little chunky, or take to smooth as you prefer. Check and adjust the seasoning to taste. Set aside.

5. Allow the whole beetroots to cool then rub off the skins.

6. Turn the oven up to 180C. Season the venison generously with salt. Press all but 1 tsp of the black pepper into the meat.

7. Heat a heavy oven proof frying pan over moderate heat. Add the oil and 2 tablespoons of the butter. Allow the butter to foam, then add the venison. Brown the meat on all sides, then place in the oven. Use these cooking times as a guideline:
If you have a long thin piece it should take abut 10 minutes for rare, and 16 for medium to well done.

A short stubby piece should take about 15 minutes for rare, and 25 minutes for medium to well done. Venison cooked more than medium well tends to become very dry.

When cooked, transfer the meat to a warmed plate, cover it with foil, and allow it to rest while you make the sauce.

8. Spoon any fat out of the pan and add the thyme, the remaining pepper, and the red wine. Boil until only 6 tbsp of liquid remain, then remove the pan from the heat, and whisk in the cold diced butter. This will mellow out and thicken the sauce. Taste the sauce for seasoning, and add a little sugar if necessary.

9. Blanch the spinach in boiling salted water for 2-3 minutes, refresh and squeeze out any water. Heat a good knob of butter over a medium heat. When the butter is foaming add the spinach, season with salt, black pepper and a little nutmeg. Gently fry for one minute.

10. Carve the venison into 1cm slices, adding any juices to the sauce. Arrange on one side of warmed plates, garnish with a sprig of thyme, and pour over a little sauce. Serve with sautéed big leaf spinach, sliced roast beetroot, serve beetroot purée to the side of the venison. Finish with shavings of grated horseradish.

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