You will want to do this only with a young deer or antelope, preferably a doe or yearling. For non-hunters, a leg of lamb or goat also works well. Don't try this recipe with larger, older animals, which will be too large and too tough. A good gauge is weight: The leg should never weigh more than 8 pounds.
6to 8 garlic cloves,peeled and cut into thick slivers
1/4cupsquash seed oil or other flavorful oil
About 1 cup of red wine,stock or water
2tablespoonsfreshly ground black pepper
2eggs, lightly beaten
Take the venison leg out of the fridge and salt it well on all sides. Let it sit on a cutting board for 30 minutes before proceeding. After 30 minutes have elapsed, preheat the oven to 450°F. Take a sharp knife with a narrow point and jab holes all over the leg of venison, tucking a sliver of garlic into each hole. You can use more or less garlic, depending on your taste.
Pat the venison dry, then massage the oil all over it. Set the leg of venison on a rack in a roasting pan and pour enough wine, stock or water into the bottom of the roasting pan to just moisten the bottom -- don't cover the bottom or the meat will steam. You just want to limit the amount of smoke you will be producing. Put the venison in the oven and roast until it is nicely browned, but no more than 20 to 25 minutes.
Take the venison out of the oven and drop the temperature to 350°F. Carefully sprinkle the minced sage and black pepper all over the roast; use tongs to pick it up if it is too hot. If you want, drizzle a little more oil over the top of the roast. Adding the spices at this point prevents them from burning.
Set the venison back into the oven and roast until the deepest part of the meat reaches the temperature you want: If you pull the venison at 125°F, it will be rare once it has rested. I pull mine at 130°F, which is closer to medium. Do not let the venison cook past 145°F under any circumstances, or it will get tough and gray. How long will this take? At least 25 more minutes, and up to another hour. Check the temperature after 25 minutes, then every 10 minutes after that. A general rule is about 20 minutes per pound at 350°F.
When the venison has hit the temperature you want, move it to a cutting board and tent it loosely with foil. Don't carve it for at least 10 minutes; I wait a full 20 minutes. Carve and serve.
After you take the venison out of the fridge, break up or chop the stale bread and put it into a bowl. Pour the lukewarm milk over the bread and let it stand while you're getting the venison ready to roast. If it looks like there is not enough milk, add a little water.
Fry the bacon in a small skillet and remove when crispy. Chop it fine. Saute the onion in the bacon fat until it's nice and brown. Mix the bacon and onion in a small bowl and allow to cool. Once it's cool, mix in the parsley and marjoram.
When the venison goes into the oven, set a large pot of salted water on the stove to boil. Once it boils, drop the heat to a simmer. If there is any milk still in the bread bowl, pour it off. Mix the bacon, onions, parsley and marjoram in with the bread. Make sure to break up any large pieces. Wait until the venison is resting to cook the dumplings.
When it's time, add the beaten eggs and mix well to combine. If the batter is too wet to form dumplings, add breadcrumbs a tablespoon at a time until you can roll the batter into a ball with your hands. Make sure your hands are wet when you do this or the batter will stick all over them. Gently lower each dumpling into the simmering water. Cover the pot. Once they float back to the surface, let them cook for another minute or two, then remove with a slotted spoon. Serve hot with the venison.
A note on the oil:I absolutely love the flavor that roasted squash seed oil brings to venison. You can find it in some stores, but your best bet is to buy squash seed oil online. But any good oil will work here: Olive oil, walnut oil, even sesame oil -- the point is to use something that adds flavor to the roast.Serve this with classic trimmings:cranberry sauce, something green and a comforting starch. Mashed, baked or roasted potatoes are traditional, but I like German dumplings. If you decide to go the dumpling route, either make the semolina dumplings from my Hasenpfeffer recipe, or make the Bavarian bread dumplings below. Oh, and should you have leftovers, sliced roast venison is awesome on rye bread sandwiches with some mustard and cheese.