Haunch of Venison with Red Wine, Black Pepper and Thyme

Paul Rankin teams tender venison with rich red wine sauce and potato gratin in this delicious dinner party dish
By Paul Rankin
Haunch of Venison with Red Wine, Black Pepper and Thyme
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Prep Time: 40 minutes
  • Effort: easy


For the potato gratin

  • 500 g potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pinches grated nutmeg
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1.2 litres whipping cream

For the venison

  • 1 kg haunch of venison, bones removed
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp cracked black peppercorns
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 5 tbsp chilled butter, diced
  • 1/2 tbsp thyme, leaves only, or 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 300 ml red wine
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1 sprig thyme, to garnish


1. Preheat the oven to 160C/gas 2. For the potato gratin, put the potato slices into a large bowl and season with salt, pepper and grated nutmeg. Rub the seasonings over the slices to ensure that they are evenly distributed.

2. Mix the garlic with the cream and pour over the potatoes. Tip the mixture into an ovenproof gratin dish, smoothen the top and cover with greaseproof paper. Bake for 1 hour, until the potatoes are soft and the top is golden.

4. Increase the oven temperature to 180C/gas 4. Season the venison generously with salt. Press all but 1 teaspoon of the black pepper over the meat.

5. Heat a heavy ovenproof frying pan over a moderate heat. Add the oil and 2 tablespoons of butter. Once the butter begins to foam, add the venison. Brown the meat on all sides, and transfer to the oven. Roast for 15 minutes.

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

7. Pour any fat out of the pan and add the thyme, remaining pepper and the red wine. Cook down until there's about 6 tablespoons of liquid left in the pan.

8. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the remaining butter. Taste the sauce for seasoning, adding a little sugar and salt if necessary.

9. Carve the venison into 1cm slices, adding any juices to the sauce. Arrange the meat on warmed plates, garnish with a sprig of thyme and pour over the sauce. Serve with creamy potato gratin.

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