Juniper crust cured venison
I love venison and I wanted to play around with curing so this is a riff on the recipe for pepper encrusted cured beef. It uses the most tender cut of venison. I want to experiment more with the cure and the final rub because I reckon there's room to amp up the berry flavours without losing the venison. Nevertheless, nom on.
2x 500g rolled loin of venison. Ask your butcher to trim the fat and silver skin, and roll into a barrel.
300g celeriac, grated
300g Maldon sea salt
300g light muscovado sugar
20 sprigs of rosemary
30 bruised juniper berries
20 crushed juniper berries
Finely chopped rosemary
Cracked black pepper
1. Make the lingonberry and celeriac salt by combining the grated celeriac and salt in a plastic or ceramic container that's large enough to take the venison. Don't use a metal container because it will taint the meat.
2. Make the cure. Just add the sugar, rosemary sprigs, juniper berries, lingonberries and peppercorns, then fold gently until mixed.
3. Create a bed of cure in the container and lay the venison on top. Add the rest of the cure then spread around so that the venison is well covered on the top and all sides. Expect some liquid to be drawn out of the celeriac and the meat as you handle the cure.
4. Put the lid on or cover your container and leave in the fridge for 2 days. The venison will tighten up a little and get even darker in colour. Don't leave the venison in the cure for longer than 2 days because it will dry out.
6. Take the venison out of the fridge and remove it from the damp salt and sugar. Rinse under cold running water then pat dry with a clean cloth. See how the loins look tighter in their bands and have taken on a slightly darker colour.
7. Spread the juniper, rosemary and pepper over a clean surface and roll the venison through it. This will distribute the crust evenly over the surface of the venison. Don't forget the ends.
8. Wrap the venison in clingfilm—as tight as you can manage. Keep it in the fridge at least for 2 days and or up to a week until you're ready to serve.
9. Slice and enjoy.