One of the tastiest and most prized types of game is venison from roe deer. A roe deer (Dutch: ree, French: chevreuil, German: Reh, Italian: capriolo) is a small species of deer that is very picky about its food. If you cannot find roe deer, you can substitute with regular venison. I recently bought a nice back of roe deer venison, part of which I turned into carpaccio and the rest I served like this. The nice thing about buying the whole back was that I also had bones to make a great jus. By cooking the venison sous-vide, you can serve it perfectly medium rare throughout as you can see in the picture above. I used the temperature of 53C/127F as proposed by Modernist Cuisine and liked it very much.
For 4 servings
500 grams (1.1 lbs) roe deer venison loin fillet
butter and olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
fresh thyme sprigs
For the jus
mixed aromatic vegetables such as leeks, onions, carrots and celery
2 bay leaves
1 juniper berry
1 piece of mace (“foelie” in Dutch, this is the dried covering of a nutmeg seed; just leave it out if can’t get it)
1 clove garlic
1 glass of red wine
Soak the venison carcass in cold water to remove most of the blood.
Put the venison carcass in a large pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil and remove the scum from the surface with a slotted spoon.
Add the chopped mixed aromatic vegetables such as leeks, onions, carrots and celery, 1 bay leaf, thyme sprigs, pepper corns, 1 clove, 1 juniper berry and 1 piece of mace (optional).
Let simmer for 4 hours or so.
Season the venison with salt and freshly ground black pepper and brown the venison in a hot frying pan with butter and olive oil. Take the meat out of the pan and put on a plate to cool.
Add the chopped shallot, 1 bay leaf and a chopped garlic clove to the fat and sauté for 1 minute.
Add the red wine and scrape the nice brown bits from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spatula.
Add the juices that will have leaked out of the browned venison. Add the contents of the frying pan to the stock pot.
Seal the venison with thyme sprigs. If using a FoodSaver-type vacuum sealer like I do, leave a long ‘sleeve’ to prevent the vacuum sealer from sucking the juices out of the bag. Refrigerate the bag until you are ready to cook it sous-vide. Cook sous-vide for 1,5-2 hours at 53C/127F.
Strain the stock to get rid of the carcass, vegetables, etc. Let it simmer over low heat (no bubbles!) to concentrate the flavor.
When the jus has thickened to your liking, taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Whisk some small pieces of cold butter into the jus to make it thicker and shiny, this is called mounting with butter.
Take the venison out of the sous-vide pouch. Discard the thyme. Slice the venison in thick slices. Serve on hot plates with the jus and vegetables of your choice. Season very lightly with salt to enhance the flavor of the venison. I served it with roasted asparagus (tossed in extra virgin olive oil, salt and freshly ground black pepper and roasted for 15-20 minutes at 225C/450F).
This pairs well with an elegant complex red wine such as a Barolo or Barbaresco.