This roast venison haunch, or leg of venison, is naturally low in fat, packed full of flavour and is really easy to cook in only an hour.
I've used thyme sprigs and juniper berries to enhance the natural flavour of the meat, that keeps deliciously moist and tender, even with a short cooking time.
The meat is cooked on a bed of vegetables to make a rich gravy that goes so well with the dish too.
This dish is perfect for a special Sunday roast, when you fancy something a little different, that won't have you slaving for hours in the kitchen.
If you are nervous of cooking venison haunch, then this recipe is really straightforward, with no special skills required.
A venison leg normally comes whole, with the bone in, or rolled, with the bone removed. Whichever joint you have, the cooking instructions are exactly the same.
While rosemary and garlic go fantastically well with roast lamb, juniper berries and thyme are perfect partners for venison. They don't overpower the dish, but add an earthiness and fragrance to the dish.
Why you will love this recipe
- Easy to prepare in advance for entertaining.
- No marinating required.
- Tender meat that is easy to carve.
- Naturally low in fat.
- Quick cooking time for a stress free dinner.
- Venison haunch - these are usually available from smaller independent butchers or online. Depending on the type of deer the weight of a bone in leg can vary. As a rough guide a 1.3kg haunch will feed 4 people.
- Thyme - small fresh bunch of thyme.
- Juniper berries - you can find these in the spice section in the supermarket.
- Butter - salted butter for keeping the meat moist.
- Salt - flaked sea salt.
- Pepper - freshly ground black pepper.
- Carrots - any shape, as they will be rough cut for the gravy.
- Celery - couple of sticks.
- Onion - medium sized cooking onion.
- Redcurrant jelly - perfect for adding a little sweetness to the gravy, but delicious without it.
- Stock - beef stock is best for the rich taste of venison.
- Wine - a red wine that you would drink with this meal, such as a red Côtes du Rhône.
See recipe card for quantities.
- Sharp knife
- Large, deep roasting tray
- Stick blender, blender or sieve
- Wooden spoon
Start by making a trivet of vegetables to let the meat rest on.
Scrub the carrots and celery and peel the onions.
Cut the vegetables into even sized chunks and place in a deep roasting dish.
💭 Top Tip
- Putting the meat on a bed of vegetables helps the heat to circulate all around the joint for even cooking. This is also a great way of roasting vegetables at the same time to use in a gravy or to accompany the dish.
Bring the meat to room temperature by bringing it out of the fridge at least 30 minutes before you want to cook it.
Pat the meat dry with paper towel.
Use a sharp knife to make slits at regular intervals all over the meat.
Poke a sprig of thyme and a juniper berry deep into each slit.
💭 Top Tip
- Give the juniper berries a slight squeeze before putting them in the venison. This helps them to release their aroma when they cook.
Smear the butter over the meat and sprinkle over the salt and pepper.
Place the meat on top of the vegetables in the dish.
⏲️ Roasting Time
Preheat the oven to 220 C / 425 F / 200 FAN / Gas 7.
Cooking the venison haunch at a high heat is important, as it is so lean.
Cook it for 20 minutes at the high heat.
Reduce the heat to 180 C / 350 F / 160 FAN / Gas 4 for 10 minutes per 500g for a medium roast or 15 minutes per 500g for medium to well done.
The internal temperature should reach 58 C.
💭 Top Tip
- If you are cooking a boned and rolled joint then allow 15-20 minutes per 500g for medium.
- Remember that the joint will continue to cook when you remove it from the oven, so don't be tempted to leave it in for longer.
Transfer the meat to a warm dish and loosely cover with foil to rest for 20 minutes.
This allows the juices to settle back into the meat and makes carving easier.
To make the gravy add the wine to the roasting dish over a medium heat.
Use a wooden spoon to loosen any crispy bits and bring to a simmer for a couple of minutes to reduce slightly.
Add the red currant jelly and the beef stock then tip into a blender and process until smooth.
If you don't have a blender or a stick blender, then use a potato masher to soften the vegetables, then pass through a sieve.
Return the mixture to a clean saucepan and bring to simmer.
If you prefer a thicker gravy combine a tablespoon of cold water with a tablespoon of cornflour, (cornstarch), and stir into the gravy.
Carve chunky slices and serve with the gravy on the side.
Serve with roasted vegetables and a big pile of watercress.
Although traditionally served with beef, horseradish sauce is also delicious with this.
🥗 Serve with
- Honey Roasted Carrots and Parsnips
- Leeks in White Sauce with Bacon
- Roast Potatoes
- Spiced Red Cabbage
- Cheesy Mashed Potatoes
- Celeriac Puree
- Cavolo Nero Kale
- Broccoli and Cauliflower Cheese
- Duchess Potatoes
- Vegetables - using a trivet of thick sliced onions, rather than a range of vegetables, will still give a delicious gravy.
- Wine - leave out the wine if you prefer and use some extra stock instead.
- Vegetables - use a combination of celeriac, carrots and onion and place parboiled carrots, potatoes and parsnips around the outside, to give a gravy and roasted vegetables at the same time.
- Redcurrant jelly - swap for quince jelly for a slightly different flavour.
- Refrigerator -cool to room temperature, cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
- Freezer - cut any remaining meat into slices and wrap securely. Freeze for up to 3 months.
- To reheat - wrap in foil and heat in the oven or cut into pieces to use in a pie.
Juniper berries are actually seeds cones from certain varieties of juniper shrubs. They are used for culinary purposes when they are a deep purple colour at around 18 months of age, however, they do lose their pungency quite quickly, so should be used quickly.
Traditionally, they have been used with poultry, game birds and venison, like these recipes for chicken thighs with juniper berries and roast partridge.
They are slightly sweet and fragrant with a warm flavour, when used in cooking.
They are particularly famous for flavouring gin!
More game and venison recipes
- Duck with Orange Sauce
- Pigeon Breast with Blackberry Sauce
- Venison Sausage Plait
- Roast Partridge with Shallots
- Guinea Fowl with Chestnuts
- Confit Duck
- Venison Burgers
- Crispy Duck with Five Spice and Honey
- Duck Terrine
Roast Venison Haunch
- Sharp knife
- Large, deep roasting tray
- Stick blender, blender or sieve
- Wooden spoon
- 1.3 kg venison haunch
- 25 g thyme
- 2 tablespoon butter
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 16 juniper berries
- 2 sticks celery
- 2 carrots
- 1 onion
- 1 tablespoon redcurrant jelly
- 300 ml beef stock
- 100 ml red wine
- Scrub the carrots and celery and peel the onions. Cut the vegetables into even sized chunks and place in a deep roasting dish.
- Pat the meat dry with paper towel. Use a sharp knife to make slits at regular intervals all over the meat.
- Poke a sprig of thyme and a juniper berry deep into each slit.
- Smear the butter over the meat and sprinkle over the salt and pepper.
- Put the meat on top of the vegetables in the dish.
- Preheat the oven to 220 C / 425 F / 200 FAN / Gas 7 and cook for 20 minutes.
- Reduce the heat to 180 C / 350 F / 160 FAN / Gas 4 for 10 minutes per 500g for a medium roast or 15 minutes per 500g for medium to well done.
- Transfer the meat to a warm dish and loosely cover with foil to rest for 20 minutes.
- Add the wine to the roasting dish over a medium heat.
- Use a wooden spoon to loosen any crispy bits and bring to a simmer for a couple of minutes to reduce slightly.
- Add the red currant jelly and the beef stock then tip into a blender and process until smooth.
- Return the mixture to a clean saucepan and bring to simmer.
- Carve the meat into thick slices and serve with the gravy.
Disclaimer: The nutritional information provided is approximate and is calculated using online tools. Information can vary depending on various factors, but we have endeavoured to be as accurate as possible.
Detailed instructions for this recipe, including step by step photographs, hints and tips, can be found in the main article
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food, that previously touched raw meat.
- Wash hands after touching raw meat.
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods.
- Never leave cooking food unattended.
- Use oils with high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds.
- Always have good ventilation when using gas.
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Wow! Never cooked venison before but this certainly looks like the way to do it. Thanks for the useful tips!
Delicious venison recipe. Thanks for sharing.
We received a meat subscription for 3 months as a gift and one of the things that arrived yesterday was venison haunch (which I had no idea what to do with). Thanks for the recipe and all the tips! I will be making it this weekend!
Oh wow!! This is real good! It was easier to make than I thought! I will definiely make it again!
This recipe has all kinds of warming and comforting flavors. We get venison every year from the in-laws so I'm so glad I found this recipe!
Delicious Venison recipe. Never tried before but sure looks amazing.
It has been a while since I saw a great roast venison recipe like this. I am so hungry right now!
Delicious! Loved the addition of juniper and red currant. So simple and elegant, it was a great dinner party recipe
I haven't had a venison roast in years! I need to try this recipe asap. 🙂
Wow! That redcurrant gravy brings this dish over the top. Perfect for that special occasion or for Sunday lunches!
That roast looks like it is cooked to perfection! Great recipe!
I grew up eating lots of venison and other game in the ‘50s in Oregon. Being in the U.K. and able to buy wild game has let me put it back on the menu. I live on a narrowboat and have a small kitchen so the simplest recipes win out for me. This one is truly exceptional.
Hi Valerie, Thanks so much for the feedback. It sounds challenging in your kitchen, but you are very right, sometimes the simplest is the best. Thanks, Amanda
We made this last weekend for Sunday dinner, and it was a hit with everyone! The meat was so tender and juicy, and I love how it didn't take too, too long to cook. Perfect comfort food.