beckyzoole and bbwoof joined us for supper tonight. Yay, yay! So I made something special. You may recall that I made "Herbal Roast Goose" earlier, from which I saved several cups of fat. I am so glad I saved that fat! It is indeed as luscious a substance as promised. Tonight I made a venison roast and a batch of roast potatoes using the goose fat. Both are pretty straightforward recipes that rely on nifty ingredients for their appeal, so if you've got access to the ingredients, you don't need a lot of fancy cooking skill. We also had baked asparagus, strawberries, and cupcakes.
Honkin' Good Venison Roast
2 Granny Smith apples
2 Vidalia onions
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon rubbed sage
9 juniper berries
1/2 cup goose fat
3 lb. venison roast
Chop 1 Granny Smith apple into bite-sized chunks and put the chunks in a medium bowl. Chop the second apple and put it into a second bowl.
Chop 1 Vidalia onion into bite-sized chunks and put the chunks into one of the apple bowls. Chop the second onion and put it into the second bowl. Stir the bits together evenly.
Dump one of the bowls into the crock pot. Add 1 bay leaf. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover the crock and turn on Low.
In a mortar and pestle, combine 1 teaspoon dried thyme, 1/2 teaspoon rubbed sage, and 9 juniper berries. Crush and mix thoroughly.
Put 1/2 cup goose fat into a small bowl. Add the mixed herbs. Stir with pastry brush.
Rinse and pat dry a 3 lb. venison roast. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Brush the herbed goose fat over the top and sides of the meat, then flip it over and lay it in the crock pot atop the apple-onion bits. Brush or pour the remaining herbed goose fat over the meat so that all surfaces are well coated.
Dump the second bowl of apple-onion bits over the roast, covering as much of it as possible. Dust with salt and pepper. Put the lid back on.
Cook on Low for 4-5 hours. Venison should flake easily with a fork. Apples and onions will cook down to slush.
If you don't have Granny Smith apples, any large tart cooking apple should work. Similarly the Vidalia onions can be replaced with some other sweet onion.
Dried herbs work better than fresh herbs for mixing into a base to spread on meat. This particular blend is optimized for venison and goose.
This recipe is really designed around the venison and the goose fat. You might try approximating venison with another game meat, or lamb; or the goose fat with duck fat or chicken fat. But venison is a supremely lean meat with a robust flavor, and goose fat is worth every lick of its reputation -- a glorious velvety substance that marries perfectly with the dark notes of the venison. Changing either of those would result in a different dish "inspired by" this one (which is fine). The goose fat used in this recipe, by the way, came from the "Herbal Roast Goose" recipe.
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4 large roasting potatoes
1/2 cup goose fat
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
Preheat oven to 400ºF.
Scrub the potatoes. Cut them into bite-sized chunks.
Put 1/2 cup goose fat into a small bowl. Crumble 1/2 teaspoon of dried rosemary into it. Stir to combine.
Put about half the potatoes into 8x11" baking dish. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Drizzle about half the herbed goose fat over the potatoes. Stir to coat evenly. Add the rest of the potatoes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Drizzle on the rest of the herbed goose fat. Stir carefully, being careful not to knock pieces of the dish.
Cook at 400ºF for one hour. Toward the end, test the potatoes with a fork. When done, they should be tender, and the top layer will be brown and crispy on the highest points.
Any type of roasting or multipurpose potato should work. I used red ones because the skins contrast nicely with the white centers.
The goose fat is what makes this recipe splendid rather than ordinary. Its reputation as a supreme cooking ingredient is well justified. If you don't have any, you can try a variation of this recipe using duck fat, chicken fat, or even cooking oil. But goose fat is so awesome that it's actually sold in jars as an ingredient in its own right, so you can find it at gourmet suppliers. I simply siphoned mine out of the "Herbal Roast Goose" that I made earlier.
Rosemary goes very well with potatoes. However, you can try other herbs such as thyme or oregano if you prefer.