Monday, 17 November 2008

Magdalen Venison

I adapted this recipe from one of Robert Carrier's which in turn was based upon an Oxford University recipe! Each year venison is taken from the University herd and eaten at high table.
I do not eat much meat and do not like killing animals but in the situation we find ourselves in Zimbabwe - any food is welcome and we have been fortunate enough to be given the odd piece of venison to cook.
The treatment of the meat ensures that it is tender and flavoursome. 7 pounds venison (approximately) 4 tablespoons butter 4 tablespoons olive oil (sunflower will do if olive oil is not available) 1/2 pound bacon 12 prunes anchovies
*******Marinade******* 1 large onion -- sliced thin 2 medium carrots -- sliced thin 2 tablespoons olive oil 750 milliliters dry red wine -- at room temperature 3 sprigs parsley 1 sprig thyme 1 whole bay leaf -- optional 6 cloves garlic -- crushed 5 whole black peppercorns 1 teaspoon gin (or two juniper berries - or two drops juniper oil)
**********Sauce******* marinade juices -- reduced 1 tablespoon butter -- mixed with 1 tablespoon flour 1 shot port wine 2 tablespoons redcurrant jelly
*******Garnish******* 12 whole Chestnuts -- glazed -- if available 20 small onions -- glazed 20 small mushrooms -- sauteed in butter Wipe venison with a clean cloth. Make marinade as follows: Slice onions and carrots and sweat them gently in the olive oil. Place vegetables in a china or earthenware or glass casserole - not metal - and add wine, parsley, thyme, bay leaf, garlic, pepper, and gin. Soak the venison in this mixture for between three days and one week in a cool place, turn 3 or 4 times a day so that all the surfaces of the meat are exposed to the liquid and are kept well moistened. The longer the meat is marinaded the gamier the flavour. To cook the meat: Combine butter and olive oil in a heavy bottomed cast iron or stainless steel pan with a tight cover. Add the bacon and saute until crisp and golden. Drain the venison from the marinade wipe dry and stuff with stoned prunes that have in turn been stuffed with anchovies.
Brown the bacon slightly in the olive oil.
Add the butter and brown the venison lightly in the fats with the bacon. Boil down the marinade juices until half the quantity and strain over the meat. Cover and cook in a moderately slow oven - 325 degrees f /mark 2 gas until meat is tender. (About 2 hours) Add more wine if necessary. To make the sauce: Remove the juices from the meat and bring to the boil. If necessary thicken with the butter which has been creamed with the flour (beurre manie). Add the port and redcurrant jelly and blend together with the juices being careful to dislodge any crusty bits on the side of the pan. Strain the sauce, which should be dark and rich over the venison and serve with the chestnuts (if available), the onions and mushrooms used as garnish.


  1. Thanks for sharing. The Venison Magdalen was one of the first dishes I tried out from Robert Carrier's cookbook and it was lovely. I no longer have the cook book so it's good to see the recipe again. If I recall, you are supposed to marinate the meat for something like five days. i can't spot for how long in the above recipe. Did I miss it?

  2. Sorry, I must be going blind. I see you did include the time it must be marinated. Apologies.