Recipe courtesy of Cory Schreiber

Leg of Venison with Cider-Baked Apples, Red Chard, and Cranberry Sauce

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 2 hr 27 min
  • Prep: 45 min
  • Inactive: 12 min
  • Cook: 1 hr 30 min
  • Yield: 4 servings
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Ingredients

Venison:

2 teaspoons black peppercorns

2 teaspoons juniper berries

2 teaspoons fennel seeds

2 teaspoons dried or fresh thyme leaves

1/2 cup olive oil

1 (3-pound) boneless venison leg roast or turkey breast, trimmed and tied

Cranberry sauce:

1 cinnamon stick, snapped in half

4 teaspoons fennel seeds

4 teaspoons whole cloves

4 teaspoons black peppercorns

4 teaspoons juniper berries

6 cups fresh cranberries (about 12 ounces)

1 1/2 cups red wine, such as pinot noir

1 cup balsamic vinegar

2/3 cup sugar

2/3 cup undiluted orange juice concentrate

Cider-baked apples:

4 cups apple cider

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

6 star anise pods (optional)

2 cinnamon sticks

4 whole cloves

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

1/4 cup unsalted butter

4 Braeburn, Jonathan, Gala, or Red Delicious apples, cored and halved lengthwise

Chard:

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 bunches firm red or white chard, stemmed

1/4 cup apple cider (or cider residue from baked apples)

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions

  1. To prepare venison: In a spice grinder or food processor, grind the peppercorns, juniper berries, fennel seeds, and thyme together. Mix with 4 tablespoons of the olive oil and rub on the venison. Cover and let stand in the refrigerator for 4 to 12 hours. Remove the venison from the refrigerator 1 hour before cooking to come to room temperature.
  2. To make the cranberry sauce: In a food processor or spice grinder, coarsely grind the cinnamon, fennel seeds, cloves, peppercorns, and juniper berries together. Place in a cheesecloth square and tie closed with a string.
  3. In a heavy medium saucepan, combine the cranberries, wine, vinegar, sugar, and orange juice concentrate. Add the spice bundle and bring the liquid to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the cranberries are very soft. Remove the spice bundle, pour the sauce into a bowl, and let cool. Use now, or cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Bring to room temperature before serving.
  4. While the cranberry sauce cools, make the baked apples: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. In a medium saucepan, cook the cider, vinegar, star anise, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, and butter for 5 minutes. Place the apples, cut-side down, in a baking pan. Pour the cider mixture over the apples. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until semisoft; set aside and keep warm, or reheat just before serving.
  5. To make the venison: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a large skillet, heat the remaining 4 tablespoons oil and brown the venison on all sides. Place on a rack in a roasting pan and roast in the oven for about 50 minutes for medium-rare. For medium-done, roast 6 to 7 minutes longer. Remove the venison from the oven, cover loosely with aluminum foil, and let stand for 5 minutes before slicing.
  6. To make the chard: In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the chard and apple cider and saute for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper.
  7. To serve, transfer the venison to a platter and arrange the apples beside it. Divide the chard and cranberry sauce between bowls. Serve.