Monday, March 7, 2016

To Roast Venison According to John Nott, c. 1723

Sliced Roasted Venison in Cullis Based Sauce

About the Recipe 

This recipe is very complex and comes from John Nott's, The Cook's and Confectioner's Dictionary: Or, the Accomplish'd Housewife's Companion published in 1723 in London by C. Rivington. John Nott was the cook to His Grace the Duke of Bolton.  

After having made this recipe I can see why it would be served to someone as aristocratic as a duke!  There are many steps to make this recipe and it took me 2 days!

Here is the recipe (the steps follow):

Modern Recipe Adaptation: To Roast Venison

Step 1: Making Veal Stock and Gravy
Before you even begin to think about making the roast, you need to make the veal stock for the cullis. Do this the day before. According to Nott, a cullis is used for "thickening all sorts of Ragoos and Soops, and give them an agreeable Taste." A cullis is a rich meat stock that is made by slow-cooking meat, vegetables, herbs, spices, and bread and then grinding everything up and straining out the lumps.


  • 1 1/2 - 2 Pounds Bone-In Veal (I used an osso-bucco cut)
  • 1 Large Onion, Unpeeled and Chopped 
  • 1 Cup Diced Carrots
  • 1 Cup Diced Celery
  • 2 Teaspoons Salt
  • 1 Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
  • 1 Bouquet Garni of Sweet Herbs (Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, Thyme, Marjoram or Oregano)

1. Place the veal in a large stock pot. 
2. Add the onions, carrots, celery, salt, pepper and herbs.
3. Cover the contents of the stock pot with cold water.
4. Place the pot on the stove and bring to a boil.
5. As the scum rises to the surface of the water, skim it off with a ladle.
6. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for two hours, until the meat is so tender it starts to fall apart.
7. Strain the meat and vegetables from the stock. Use the stock to make a gravy in Step 2.

Step 2: Making the Veal Gravy


  • 1/4 Cup Butter
  • 1/4 Cup All-Purpose White Flour
  • 2 Cups Veal Stock (from Step 1 above)

1. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.  Once melted, add the flour and whisk until well-blended.
2. Cook the butter/flour mixture (roux) until the flour smell is gone.
3. Add the veal stock and whisk until there are no lump. 
4. Bring the gravy to a boil and then immediately reduce the temperature to low and cook for about 5-10 minutes, until the gravy thickens.
5. Refrigerate the gravy and the remaining stock for use in making the cullis (step 4).

Step 3: Preparing the Venison Roast


  • 1 Venison Roast, About 2-3 Pounds
  • 3 Slices of American-Style Pork Belly Streaky Bacon, Cut into Several 3-4 Inch Pieces
  • 2 1/2 Teaspoons Salt
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
  • 1/8 Teaspoon Ground Cloves
  • 1 1/2 Cups White Wine
  • 1/2 Cup Verjuice (click here to read about verjuice)
  • 4 Fresh Bay Leaves
  • Grated Rind and Juice of 1 Lemon
  • Bundle of Sweet Herbs (parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme)

(The roast needs to marinate for 3-4 hours, so plan accordingly.)

1. Lard the Roast: Use a larding needle to insert pieces of bacon into the venison roast. Here are some pictures to help guide you:

Inserting Bacon in Larding Needle
Inserting the Needle into the Roast

The Larded Roast

Step 2: Make the Dry Rub: Mix together 1 teaspoon of the salt (you will have 1 1/2 teaspoons left for later use), black pepper, nutmeg and cloves. Rub this all over the larded roast.

Roast covered with the dry rub.

Step 3: Make the Marinade: 

  • In a large bowl, mix together the wine, verjuice, remaining salt, bay leaves, and the grated rind and juice of the lemon.  
  • Add the bundle of sweet herbs. 
  • Insert the roast into the marinade and cover.
  • Refrigerate for 3-4 hours.

Step 4: Make the Cullis

Here is Nott's Cullis Recipe:

  • 3 Pounds of Veal (I used veal chops)
  • 1/2 Pound Canadian Bacon
  • 1/2 Cup Diced Carrots
  • 1 Large Parsnip, Diced
  • 1 Large Onion, Diced
  • Dripping from 4 Slices of Bacon
  • 1/3 Cup All-Purpose Flour
  • Veal Gravy (from Step 1)
  • 3 Cups Veal Stock (from Step 1)
  • 1/2 Pounds Mushrooms, Sliced
  • 2 Teaspoons Whole Cloves
  • 1 Leek (Sliced and rinsed well)
  • 1/2 Cup Fresh Parsley
  • 2 Small French Bread Rolls, Sliced
1. Heat a thick-bottomed stock pot on medium-high heat.  Add the veal to the hot pot (no need to oil the pan first).
2. Layer the Canadian bacon, carrots, parsnips, and onions on top of the veal. Lower the temperature to medium and cover.
3. Cook until the veal starts to caramelize:

The veal will caramelize like this.

4. Once the veal is caramelized, add the bacon drippings and the flour. Stir well until all of the flour is moistened by the bacon fat.
5.  Add the gravy and the stock. Stir well.
6. Then add the mushrooms, cloves, leeks, parsley, and bread slices. Stir well.
7. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low. Simmer for 2-3 hours until the meat and vegetables are tender enough to grind.
8. Remove the bones.
9. Using a food processor or a hand-held blender, blend all of the cullis ingredients together.
10. Strain about 1-2 cups through a sieve to use in the cullis (in the final step below).
11. You can strain the remaining cullis, or you can leave it unstrained. Either way, you can serve it as the thick soup topped with croutons.


Step 5: Roasting and Finishing the Venison

  • Marinated Venison Roast
  • 3-4 Tablespoons Venison Drippings
  • 2 Cups Cullis (from Step 4)
  • 1/4 Teaspoon White Pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons Verjuice
  • 2 Tablespoons Capers, Drained
1. Roasting: 
  • Remove the venison from the marinade. Pat dry.
  • Roast the venison in an oven heated to 350º F for about 60 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the roast reads 145º F. for medium rare.
  • Let the roast rest for about 3-5 minutes before slicing.
Allow the roast to rest for at least 3-5 minutes before slicing.

2. Make the Sauce: Mix together the drippings, cullis, white pepper, verjuice, and capers together.
3. Slice the venison to your taste (thin or thick) and then ladle the sauce over it.

Sliced Venison Draped in Cullis-Based Sauce

Finally done  . . . now enjoy with a glass of red wine!

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