Roast Venison with Dried-Cranberry Gravy

January/February 1997

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A tart cranberry gravy provides the perfect counterpoint to earthy roast venison. Make it a meal: Serve over Garlic Mashed Potatoes.

Roast Venison with Dried-Cranberry Gravy

Makes: 10 servings

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  • 2 1/2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped shallots
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (2 teaspoons)
  • 2 cups dry red wine
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 10 juniper berries, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed black pepper
  • 1 3-pound boneless leg of venison, trimmed and tied into a roast
  • 1 cup reduced-sodium beef broth
  • 1 cup cranberry-juice cocktail
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • Pinch of sugar, or to taste


  1. Heat 1 1/2 teaspoons oil in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add shallots and garlic; cook, stirring, until softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add wine, vinegar, juniper berries, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and simmer until reduced by half, 10 to 15 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  2. Place venison in a shallow nonreactive dish just large enough to hold the roast. Pour cooled marinade over venison and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate, turning occasionally, for 2 to 4 hours or overnight.
  3. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  4. Remove the venison from marinade and pat dry, reserving marinade. Rub venison with remaining 1 teaspoon oil. Heat a cast-iron skillet over high heat. Sear the venison, turning with tongs, until browned on all sides, about 6 minutes.
  5. Transfer venison to a small metal roasting pan. Roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center of the roast registers 125°F for medium-rare, 45 to 50 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board, tent with foil and let rest for 10 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, strain the reserved marinade into a medium saucepan. Add stock (or broth), cranberry juice, dried cranberries and tomato paste. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook until gravy is reduced by half, 15 to 20 minutes. Combine cornstarch and cold water in a small bowl; slowly whisk into the simmering gravy until slightly thickened. Season with salt, pepper and sugar. Keep warm.
  7. Remove strings from venison and carve into thin slices. Serve with the gravy.


Per serving: 252 calories; 5 g fat (2 g sat, 2 g mono); 116 mg cholesterol; 10 g carbohydrates; 2 g added sugars; 32 g protein; 0 g fiber; 314 mg sodium; 535 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus: Iron (28% daily value), Zinc (20% dv), Selenium & Vitamin C (19%), Potassium (15% dv).

Carbohydrate Servings: 1/2

Exchanges: 1/2 fruit, 4 lean meat

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