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Braised Venison with a Chocolate Sauce

A luxurious venison recipe by Raymond Blanc. The braised venison shoulder is married with flavoursome additions of juniper berries, red wine and dark chocolate.

From the book


This dish actually gains from being cooked 24 hours in advance, then being reheated at the same temperature for about 30 minutes. Serve garnished with Braised Chestnuts, if you like.

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4 x 250g (9oz) pieces of venison shoulder
50ml (2fl oz) sunflower oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the marinade:
1 bottle (750 ml/ 1¼ pints) red wine
8 juniper berries, crushed
12 black peppercorns, crushed
2 bay leaves
1 fresh thyme sprig
1 strip of orange peel
1 medium carrot, diced
1 large onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, peeled
1 celery stick, chopped
For the sauce:
1 tbsp tomato purée
350–400ml (12–14fl oz) water
1 tbsp redcurrant jelly
30g (1¼oz) dark chocolate, grated

Essential kit

You will need: a cast-iron casserole.


To marinate the venison, put the red wine in a pan and boil to reduce by one third. Allow to cool down to room temperature. Place the venison in a large container and cover with the reduced wine and all the remaining marinade ingredients. Chill and allow to marinate for 24 hours.

Preheat the oven to 110°C/225°F/gas ¼. Drain the venison and the vegetables, and pat them dry. Reserve the wine. In a non-stick pan, heat the sunflower oil until smoking and sear and colour both pieces of venison on all sides to a good deep brown. This will take about 10 minutes. Transfer the venison pieces to a cast-iron casserole.

In the oil remaining in the non-stick pan, colour the drained vegetables and seasonings lightly, about 5 minutes, then transfer them to the casserole with the venison. To make the sauce, add the tomato purée to the non-stick pan and cook for 1–2 minutes. Add the reserved red wine from the marinade, and bring to the boil. Pour over the venison, vegetables and seasonings in the casserole, and barely cover with the water. Season lightly with sea salt. Bring to the boil for 1 minute, skim, then cover with a tight lid. Transfer to the oven and cook for 3½ hours.

To finish the sauce, strain the juices into a large pan and reduce on full heat to about 300ml (½ pint). Reduce the heat until the sauce barely simmers, then add the redcurrant jelly. Adjust the seasoning adding sea salt and black pepper, if necessary, and whisk in the grated chocolate. Mix the venison and vegetables back into the sauce, and reheat gently. Add the chestnuts if using.You may serve the venison from the casserole or transfer it to a nice serving dish.


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