Pot-Roast Venison with Prunes and Blushing Pears

Alan Coxon's spiced venison with unctuous fruit and vegetable sauce is accompanied by sweet pickled pears stored in the larder
By Alan Coxon
Pot-Roast Venison with Prunes and Blushing Pears
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4-6
  • Cook Time: 2 hours 45 minutes
  • Prep Time: 40 minutes
  • Effort: medium


For the venison

  • 2.5 kg leg venison steaks
  • 5 cloves garlic, cut into slithers
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • clarified butter, for frying
  • 30 g unsalted butter
  • 1 onion, cut into 6 wedges
  • 2 carrots, cut into chunks
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 4 juniper berries, crushed
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 250 ml red wine
  • 20 prunes
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 6 tomatoes, quartered and seeds removed

For the blushing pears

  • 1 lemon
  • 100 g fructose sugar
  • 240 ml raspberry vinegar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 4 cloves
  • 4 allspice berries
  • 450 g firm pears


For the venison:
1. Preheat the oven to 140C/gas 1. Stud the meat with the slivers of garlic and season lightly with salt and pepper.

2. Heat the clarified butter in a large casserole, add the meat and brown all over. Add the onion, carrots, cloves, juniper berries, allspice, coriander and nutmeg and stir well. Add the red wine, prunes, tomato purée and tomatoes.

3. Cover and place in the oven for 1 hour 30 minutes or until the meat is tender. Then remove the lid and continue cooking for a further 30 minutes.

4. When ready, remove the casserole from the oven and set the venison aside to rest. Check the seasoning and consistency of the sauce: if it is too liquid boil the casserole over a high heat to reduce the sauce slightly.

5. Carve the meat and served coated with the sauce, accompanied by a blushing pear.

For the blushing pears:
1. Pare two strips of zest from the lemon and place in a large saucepan. Squeeze the juice and add it to the pan. Add the fructose sugar (or honey or apple juice, if using), plus the vinegar, spices and 70ml water to the pan and heat gently, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Slowly bring the syrup to a boil.

2. Meanwhile, prepare the pears. Peel and halve them, leaving the stalks on to enhance the presentation. Scoop out the cores using a melon baller or a small teaspoon. Add the pears to the pan and simmer gently for about 20 minutes.

3. When ready, carefully remove the pears from the pan and pack in a large sterilized jar. Add the lemon zest and cinnamon stick from the pan.

4. Bring the syrup back to the boil for 5 minutes or until slightly reduced, skimming off any froth that forms. Carefully pour the hot syrup over the pears, then seal the jar. Store for around 1 month before eating for maximum flavour.

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