Roast Venison with Salt Baked Beetroot and Spinach

11:30 am on 15 April 2013

When cooked properly, venison is tender, juicy full-flavoured meat. The two most common deer to eat are fallow and red deer. Fallow is more subtle in flavour, while red deer is a tad richer.

We’d serve this dish with the Urlar Pinot Noir from Gladstone. It’s not your typical Pinot Noir. It’s rich, smoky and robust. The dark cherry and woody notes are perfect for this dish, while sweetness of the Ximenez ignites the wine’s inherent fruit.



  • 4 medium sized beetroot, or 16 baby beetroot
  • 8 tablespoons rock salt


  • 1 bay leaf
  • a sprig of thyme
  • a sprig of rosemary
  • 150ml of Pedro Ximenez sweet sherry (or marsarla, or red wine)
  • 30ml sherry vinegar ( or good quality red wine vinegar, or balsamic)
  • 600 g of venison leg muscle or backstrap 
  • olive oil for frying
  • 2 knobs of butter for the glaze


  • 300g of fresh spinach
  • ½ clove garlic (crushed)
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • Olive oil for frying



Trim the leafy tops from the beetroot (keep these for later, they’re great blanched and sautéed like silver beet).

Clean beets under cold water to remove any soil.

Wrap each beetroot individually in tin-foil, and add 2 tablespoons of rock salt before sealing the foil.

Bake at 190 degrees for about 30 minutes or until soft enough to slide a knife through the middle of the flesh.

Set aside to cool so you can handle the beetroot.

Remove the skin by rubbing the beetroot with a little pressure – this is a lot easier when the beetroot are warm. 

Serve whole if using baby beetroot, or cut large beetroot into wedges.


Chop bayleaf, thyme and rosemary, and mix with the sherry and vinegar to form a marinade.

Trim the silver skin and sinew from the venison muscle.

Marinate the venison at room temperature for about an hour.

Place a heavy based cast iron or griddle pan on high heat and add a little fat or oil.

Generously season the venison with salt.

Sear the venison on all sides to get a nice caramelised crust.

Place the venison in a preheated oven at 190 degrees.

Roast for 10-12 minutes.

Medium rare meat will feel soft and yielding, but not floppy.


Pull the tough stems off the tender leaves and discard.

Thoroughly wash the leaves in cold water, and shake dry.

Place a pan on high heat with a little olive oil.

Add the dry spinach and move the pan around as the leaves wilt.

Add a little crushed garlic, salt and finish with lemon juice.

To Serve

Combine the venison juices and remaining marinade into a hot pan, and reduce the liquid by half. Remove from the heat and whisk a knob of butter into the juices. When completely melted add another small knob and keep whisking. The juices will thicken up to form a silky sauce to cling to the meat.

Slice the rested venison against the grain. Serve with beetroot and spinach and finish with the thickened sauce and fresh cracked pepper.


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