Roasted Juniper Crusted Leg of Venison with Apples and Figs

For this recipe, I prefer the leg to be intact, with the shank still attached. This makes for a wonderfully dramatic presentation and allows for the use of a manche a gigot while carving. However, if the constraints of your largest vessel are such that you will not be able to properly sear the beast, you may remove the shank. Braised at a later time, it will make a very nice supper for one hungry, or two dainty souls.

Photography By Aaron Snow | October 25, 2017

Ingredients

  • 1 leg of venison, aitchbone removed
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt or coarse sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons juniper berries
  • 2 tablespoons peppercorns
  • 2 tablespoons Herbs de Provence
  • 1 bulb garlic, cloves peeled, largest cloves halved lengthwise
  • ¼ cup oil
  • 1-2 tablespoons bacon drippings (optional)
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 sprig rosemary, roughly chopped
  • 1 small handful of fresh sage leaves, whole
  • 3–4 apples (I prefer honeycrisp), some halved, some quartered
  • 1 dozen or so fresh figs, whole

Preparation

Pat the roast dry and allow to sit at room temperature for at least an hour. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In the meantime, using a mortar and pestle or a spice grinder, combine and pulverize the salt and juniper and separately, the herbs de provence and peppercorns. Prick the roast all over with a boning knife, penetrating 1"-1.5" each time, the same number of times as you have pieces of garlic. Stud the roast, placing 1 clove (or half clove) into each of the incisions you've just made, and press it all of the way in. Sprinkle evenly with the salt and juniper preparation. Repeat with the herb and pepper mix. Heat the oil and bacon drippings in a heavy bottomed skillet, rondeau pan, or Dutch oven, over medium high heat until glistening. Sear the leg on all sides, taking care while turning not to damage your ethereal crust. Sear the cut sides of the apples in the same pan, then add the figs just to coat. Lightly sprinkle the fruit with salt and pepper, or your prepared mixes if there is enough excess, and set aside. Combine the onion, rosemary, and sage, and place in the bottom of a roasting pan. Place the leg on top of this mixture, then arrange the fruit around its perimeter. Place in the oven, and using convection if possible, roast to an internal temperature of 125 to 130 degrees Fahrenheit, about an hour or so. Err on the side of “underdoneness”, as you can always pop it back in the oven for another bit, but an overcooked leg of venison is a woeful thing indeed. Let the joint rest for 30 minutes.

If employing the manche a gigot, attach it at this time to the exposed end of the shank bone, and you're ready to carve.

Ingredients

  • 1 leg of venison, aitchbone removed
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt or coarse sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons juniper berries
  • 2 tablespoons peppercorns
  • 2 tablespoons Herbs de Provence
  • 1 bulb garlic, cloves peeled, largest cloves halved lengthwise
  • ¼ cup oil
  • 1-2 tablespoons bacon drippings (optional)
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 sprig rosemary, roughly chopped
  • 1 small handful of fresh sage leaves, whole
  • 3–4 apples (I prefer honeycrisp), some halved, some quartered
  • 1 dozen or so fresh figs, whole
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