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Rack of Venison with Pomegranate Glaze

Because venison lacks fat, you must be careful not to overcook it or it will toughen. Always roast the meat at high heat to guard against drying out, and cook it to rare, medium-rare or medium. Pomegranate molasses has a tangy, lightly fruity flavor that balances the bold flavor of the meat. Ask the butcher to crack the chine bone for easier carving.

Ingredients:

  • 1 rack of venison with 8 ribs, about 3 lb. (1.5 kg)
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • 1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) pomegranate molasses
  • 1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) ruby port
  • 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 10 to 12 juniper berries, lightly crushed
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper

Directions:

Remove the venison from the refrigerator 30 minutes before roasting. Preheat an oven to 425°F (220°C).

Using a sharp knife, trim away any silver skin and most of the surface fat from the venison rack. Lightly season on all sides with salt.

In a small saucepan, combine the pomegranate molasses, port, olive oil, juniper berries and pepper and mix well. Place the venison rack, meat side up, in a roasting pan just large enough to hold it and brush generously with some of the glaze.

Roast the venison for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and brush the rack with more of the glaze. Continue to roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat, away from the bone, registers 125° to 130°F (52° to 54°C) for rare to medium-rare, 10 to 12 minutes more. Transfer the venison to a carving board and brush again with the glaze. Cover loosely with aluminum foil and let rest for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, place the saucepan with the glaze over medium-low heat, bring to a boil and cook until slightly thickened, 2 to 3 minutes.

To serve, cut the venison into individual chops and place 2 chops on each warmed plate. Spoon a little of the glaze over each serving and serve immediately. Serves 4.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Roasting, by Rick Rodgers, Melanie Barnard, Bob & Coleen Simmons, Tori Ritchie and Amanda Haas (Oxmoor House, 2009).