Roast Venison With Cherries

I was lucky enough recently to be given a haunch of venison by my friend and former colleague Keith, aka The Red Chef.

As Keith owns enough weaponry to start World War III, I’m a bit nervous to confess here that I overcooked it lamentably.

It was still delicious but not as rare as I would have liked it. My second effort wasn’t much better (I’d resorted to buying the venison by now).

This is Version No. 3, which also includes an amended recipe for the cherry sauce, too sweet for my taste first time around. This time I achieved perfectly pink meat with an intense sweet/sour sauce that complements the venison nicely.

Image of finished dish

I used home-made vino cotto, a reduced grape must, but if you don’t have that I’d suggest using redcurrant jelly in a smaller quantity and thickening the sauce with cornflour mixed with a little water.

We served the venison with dauphinoise potatoes and purple sprouting broccoli from the garden.

Roast Venison With Cherries


1.5 kg  haunch of venison (I used muntjac)


Salt and pepper

For the sauce:

Half a 680g jar of pitted cherries in syrup

3 heaped tbsp vino cotto

Red wine

A good slug of sloe gin


Preheat the oven to 425F/220C/Gas Mark 7.

Rub the haunch of venison generously with salt and then a twist of black pepper.

Heat the fat in a roasting tray and when it is hot, brown the haunch quickly all over.

Image of venison haunch being browned

Put it on a rack in a roasting tin, add a good splash of red wine or stock in the base of the pan and cover with foil.

Cook the haunch at 425F/220C /Gas Mark 7  for 20 minutes, then lower the heat to 300F/150C /Gas Mark 2.

The general rule of thumb is to cook it  for 10 minutes per 500g if you want the meat rare and for 15 minutes per 500g if you prefer it medium. I cooked ours for 15 minutes per half-kilo and I would say it was on the rare side of medium-rare after resting. Your oven may vary from mine.

While the meat is cooking, make the sauce.

Put a couple of glasses of red wine into a pan and bring to a medium heat.

Whisk in the vino cotto, add a good slug or two of sloe gin and half the jar of cherries, drained.

Image of cherry sauce being made

Reduce the sauce at a simmer until it has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon.

Adjust the sweet/sour ratio to taste, set aside and keep warm.

When the meat is cooked to your liking, remove it from the oven, cover the tin loosely in foil, wrap it in a towel and rest it for 20–30 minutes before carving.

Image of meat being carved


9 thoughts on “Roast Venison With Cherries

  1. Lovely! Is that the vino cotto you made last year? I was looking in that Crazy Water book yesterday and lined up a goat’s cheese and radicchio salad but it calls for ‘saba’ which is apparently a ‘sweet grape must’ – is that the same, do you think? I must ask my Italian friend where to lay my hands on saba round here. Sloe gin and red wine too! 😉

    • Hi there,
      Yes, it’s the same stuff. You can buy it online – I think I may have linked to it in the original vino cotto post if you can be bothered to take a look. Or hop on a train 🙂

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