Classic Karoo roasted shoulder of springbok with homemade smoked bacon

By Gordon Wright 16 August 2019

This recipe is from Gordon Wright's book, Veld to Fork. There are more venison recipes in that book and in his recent best-seller, Karoo Food. Photo by Sean Calitz

This is one of my all-time favourites. The prep is very quick and simple and the slow-roasting results in meltingly soft venison shoulder, juicy and falling off the bone.

I love to use a smallish shoulder like springbok or mountain reedbuck and leave the shank on as this adds a whole new dimension to the roast. The secret to this roast is to keep the lid on – tight as can be – throughout the cooking process.

I bang all the ingredients into the roasting dish and then make a sticky dough by mixing some flour and water, which I use to seal around the rim of the dish. When I put the lid on it forms an airtight seal so that nothing can escape. I put it into a very hot oven (around 280°C or as close as your oven can get to that, if you are my editor) for 10 minutes to get the whole process going and then turn the heat right down to 150°C for another two hours. The end result is a flavoursome, soft and unbelievably succulent roast with the most incredible pan juices to use as a base for your gravy. Are you drooling yet?

Serves 4–6

1 venison shoulder roast, shank still attached

olive oil

salt and freshly ground pepper

1 bottle (750 ml) good-quality white wine (half for you and half for

the roast)

10 cloves garlic, peeled

1 large thumb-sized piece fresh

ginger, cut into chunks

1 handful fresh rosemary sprigs

100 g thickly sliced bacon

30 ml smooth apricot jam or quince jelly

Preheat the oven to 280°C, or as near as dammit!

Rub the roast with olive oil, salt and pepper. Pour the wine into the roasting dish so that it is about 5 cm deep. Add the garlic, ginger and rosemary to the wine and place the roast in the dish. Cover with rashers of bacon and seal the lid in place as described in the intro above.

Place in the hot oven for 10 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 150 °C and continue roasting for two hours. Do not open the lid during this time!

After two hours remove from the oven and check (be careful of the steam when opening the lid). You should be able to pull out the scapula (the thin flat bone at the end) quite easily. If not, close up and cook for longer. Once ready, remove the roast from the pan and set aside to rest.

Strain the pan juices through a sieve, pushing through all the goodness with a spoon. Return the juices to the pan with the apricot jam and bring to the boil whilst stirring and scraping all the sticky dark stuff off the bottom – lots of flavour here. Thicken if necessary and voilà! You have brilliant gravy to go with your roast. DM

This recipe is from Gordon Wright’s book, Veld to Fork. There are more venison recipes in that book and in his recent best-seller, Karoo Food. Photo by Sean Calitz.


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