Venison in the Style of the Mogul Court

For a truly splendid dish try Sophie Grigson's recipe for a magnificent, richly spiced, baked venison dish
By Sophie Grigson
Venison in the Style of the Mogul Court
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 8-10
  • Cook Time: 2.5 hours 30 minutes
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes plus soaking and marinating,
  • Effort: medium



  • 2 1/2-3 kilo boned, rolled haunch of venison steaks
  • 2 tbsp cornflour
  • black pepper

For the marinade:

  • 2 big pinches strands saffron
  • 2 tbsp hot water
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 5 cm ginger, roughly chopped
  • 2 dried chillies, broken into pieces
  • 1/2 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 85 g seedless raisins
  • 55 g cashew nuts
  • 3 tbsp lime or lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 150 g Greek yogurt
  • 55 g crème fraîche
  • 2 tsp salt

For the Mogul garam masala:

  • green cardamom, seeds extracted, pods discarded
  • 1/2 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg


1. First make the Mogul garam masala. Grind the cardamom seeds, peppercorns and coriander seeds to a powder using a pestle and mortar or a grinder. Mix the freshly ground spices with the cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. Store in an airtight container until needed.

2. To prepare the marinade, soak the saffron in the hot water for 30 minutes.

3. Place the onion, garlic, ginger, chillies, cumin, turmeric, raisins, cashew nuts, lime juice, honey and 1 teaspoon of the Mogul garam masala in a food processor. Process until evenly chopped. Add the saffron with its soaking water, the yogurt, crème fraich and salt and blend until thoroughly mixed.

4. Open out the haunch of venison, laying it out flat. Spread 3 tablespoons of the marinade over the venison, then roll it up again and tie as neatly as you can.

5. Spread about a quarter of the remaining marinade over the base of a casserole dish, and then lay the rolled haunch in it. Spoon the last of the marinade all over the outside of the haunch. Cover and leave to marinade for 24-48 hours in the fridge. Whenever you remember, turn the venison, and spoon the marinade back over it.

6. About 4 hours before you intend to eat the haunch of venison, take it out of the fridge and allow an hour for it to come back to room temperature.

7. Preheat the oven to 220°C/gas 7.

8. Cover the casserole with a double layer of greaseproof paper or silver foil, and clamp the lid firmly on top, so that none of the juices can steam off into the ether as it cooks.

9. Bake the venison at this temperature for 1 hour, then reduce the heat to 140°C/Gas 1, and cook for a further 1 hour 30 minutes.

10. Transfer the baked venison onto a serving plate and leave to rest in a warm place while you make the sauce.

11. Stir a few spoonfuls of the juices from meat into the cornflour, to make a thin paste, and then add a little more. Stir back into the juices, and bring up to the boil, still stirring. Simmer for 2 minutes, then season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper.

12. Serve the venison with the sauce.

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