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Roasted loin of venison with braised lentils

Roasted loin of venison with braised lentils

Rose Prince writes: Lentils are an excellent accompaniment to venison loin. Their earthy flavor goes well with it.

Venison, Puy lentils, orange and Quince.

The recipe serves two people, but I cook twice as many lentils to graze on throughout the week. Both lentils and venison have health benefits, so this recipe is perfect.

Roast venison loin served with braised lentils


You can prepare the lentils in advance, and then reheat them.

  • 200g green lentils Puy (or Italian brown lentils of Umbria).
  • Crushed but whole clove of garlic
  • 150ml Red Wine
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme or ½ tsp dried thyme
  • 2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 carrot, finely sliced
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • ½ stick celery, finely chopped
  • Sea salt and freshly grounded black pepper

Extra virgin olive oil


  • Venison loin 300g, boned and rolled
  • 2 tbsp of melted butter
  • Black pepper and sea salt freshly ground

Quince dressing:

  • 2 tbsp quince paste (membrillo)
  • Lemon juice, 1 tbsp


  1. Add the red wine, garlic and thyme to the lentils. Cover the lentils with 2cm of water and heat to simmer. Continue to cook the lentils until they are tender. Start testing after 20 minutes, as the cooking time varies between batches. Pour the lentils out into a large bowl to cool.
  2. Add the olive oil to a pan and fry the diced carrot over a medium heat until it shrivels — but do not allow the carrot to brown. Continue to cook the celery and onion until they are soft, but not brown. Add the celery and onion to the lentils, then remove from heat. Gently stir. Add a small amount of olive oil. Heat the lentils gently in a pan on a low flame just before serving. Season to taste.
  3. To roast the venison loin, preheat the oven to 160°C/Gas Mark 3. After seasoning the loin, melt the butter on a medium high heat in a pan that is oven-proof. Place the venison in the pan when the butter foams and turn it to brown all sides.
  4. The venison should be cooked in the oven for 15-25 minutes depending on its thickness (red deer will take the longest and roe-deer the shortest). Ideally, the meat should be served medium rare — if using a meat thermometer, 50 to 51°C is the perfect temperature for the inside of the joint.
  5. Insert a metal skewer so that its tip meets the center to test manually. Wait for 30 seconds then remove it and test the tip with your finger — it should feel warmer than your skin, close to a ‘hot bath’. You can return the meat back to the oven if it’s not done. Cover the meat lightly in foil and allow it to rest on a cutting board for 5 minutes.
  6. Pour the mixture through a sieve and set aside. Pour the mixture through the sieve, add the lemon juice and then set it aside.
  7. Serve the lentils warm and sliced meat alongside. Pour the cooking juices over. This dish works well with spring greens, kale and arugula.

Note on lentils

Try to find the brown Umbrian lentils, or the authentic puy lentils for this classic. The advantage of these lentils is that — if not overcooked — they will have a delightful al dente texture, a perfect foil for all roast meats, wild or farmed. They’re especially wonderful with venison.

Other green lentils can be mushy, and they are bigger and less pleasant to the taste. It can take a little practice to perfect cooking lentils, but if you test them — by biting one — after 20 minutes’ cooking, you will be on top of the situation.

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