Sunday is National roast day

Which day of the week fits a nice roast better than a Sunday? Probably none. At least, Sundays in Germany are the epitome of a lazy, chill out day. All stores are closed. Even some restaurants. What is left to do is either spending the day outside for some activity or staying inside in the pyjamas all day :)

This weekend we spontaneously fell for a Sunday roast and so I headed over to the grocery store and got 3 pounds of venison (deer back) the day before. With that a bottle of red wine, a pack of creme fraiche and polenta for the side dish.

Allow yourself the whole day to wait until the meal is ready. Our roast was parked in the oven for 5 hours! Don’t worry about the actual preparation part; it is fairly easy.

Sunday roast in the making

Polenta sticks in the making

Baked polenta sticks

Venison roast with polenta sticks

Ingredients (serves 5 people):

1.5 kg venison (e.g deer back)

1 onion

1 bottle red wine

1 pack creme fraiche (or sour cream in the US, Schmand in Germany)

1 jar cranberries (Preiselbeeren in Germany)

25 g dark chocolate (55% or higher)

Salad (e.g. mache salad)

1 bunch parsley

300g polenta

1 pack mushroom soup (mushroom cream soup preferably)

50g butter

Seasoning: Salt, pepper, juniper berries (German: Wacholderbeeren), bay leaves (Lorbeerblaetter), cloves (Nelken)

Olive oil, dark balsamic vinegar


Meat – In a lasagna pan or clay pot, lay out the meat and cover with red wine and add about 10 juniper berries, 5-6 bay leaves and a spoonful of whole cloves. Dice and add the onion. In a sauce pan, dissolve the mushroom soup in water (as indicated on the package) and mix with the creme fraiche until there are no lumps left. Add 2-3 tablespoons of the cranberries, stir again and then pour the sauce over the meat.

Place the pan in the oven, heated to about 8o degrees Celsius (175 degrees Fahrenheit). If you have a thermometer at hand, you might want to stick it inside the meat. The meat should have a temperature between 60 and 70 degrees C (140-160 degrees F) before it is done. Set the alarm to 5-8 hours from then.

Sauce – As soon as the meat is done (the color should have a little pinkish shimmer but the meat should nevertheless be well done, not medium), pour the sauce from the pan into a blender and mix. Pour the sauce back into a sauce pan and melt 25 g of dark chocolate (55% and higher) in it. Use corn starch too thicken the sauce and season to taste with pepper or an additional sip of cream or creme fraiche.

Polenta – In a pan, bring salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, clean and chop up the parsley leaves. Then add 300g of polenta, 50g of butter, as well as the parsley and stir well at low heat until the polenta comes firmly off the sides of the pan. Use a small buttered baking pan or lasagna pan and evenly spread out the polenta. Let it sit in there for about 10 min. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius (400 degrees Fahrenheit). Make sure that you remove the meat from the oven just shortly before you start preheating the oven for the polenta.

Now cut the polenta into sticks: You do this by putting the baking pan upside down on a flat and clean surface. Take a knife and cut sticks of equal size. Place them on a baking pan and sprinkle with olive oil or butter stripes. Place in the oven for about 10 min until the surface become cross.

Salad – Wash and dry the salad leaves. For the dressing, combine 1 part of olive oil with 1 part of dark balsamic vinegar. I usually prepare about half a cup. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Left over dressing can easily be stored in the fridge for a few days.

Finale – Arrange the meat and the polenta sticks on a plate, decorate with salad and cover with sauce. Do not forget to place the remaining sauce on the table, there can never be enough sauce :) And as a little secret at the end: This recipe is called Madame Boudon’s venison and I am sending a big thank you to Gabor’s mom who initially made this great dinner for us.

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