From Mrs. Beetons Household Management
INGREDIENTS.—Venison, coarse flour-and-water paste, a little flour.
Mode.—Choose a haunch with clear, bright, and thick fat, and the cleft of the hoof smooth and close; the greater quantity of fat there is, the better quality will the meat be. As many people object to venison when it has too much haut goût, ascertain how long it has been kept, by running a sharp skewer into the meat close to the bone; when this is withdrawn, its sweetness can be judged of. With care and attention, it will keep good a fortnight, unless the weather is very mild. Keep it perfectly dry by wiping it with clean cloths till not the least damp remains, and sprinkle over powdered ginger or pepper, as a preventative against the fly. When required for use, wash it in warm water, and dry it well with a cloth; butter a sheet of white paper, put it over the fat, lay a coarse paste, about 1/2 inch in thickness, over this, and then a sheet or two of strong paper. Tie the whole firmly on to the haunch with twine, and put the joint down to a strong close fire; baste the venison immediately, to prevent the paper and string from burning, and continue this operation, without intermission, the whole of the time it is cooking. About 20 minutes before it is done, carefully remove the paste and paper, dredge the joint with flour, and baste well with butter until it is nicely frothed, and of a nice pale-brown colour; garnish the knuckle-bone with a frill of white paper, and serve with a good, strong, but unflavoured gravy, in a tureen, and currant jelly; or melt the jelly with a little port wine, and serve that also in a tureen. As the principal object in roasting venison is to preserve the fat, the above is the best mode of doing so where expense is not objected to; but, in ordinary cases, the paste may be dispensed with, and a double paper placed over the roast instead: it will not require so long cooking without the paste. Do not omit to send very hot plates to table, as the venison fat so soon freezes: to be thoroughly enjoyed by epicures, it should be eaten on hot-water plates. The neck and shoulder may be roasted in the same manner.
Time.—A large haunch of buck venison, with the paste, 4 to 5 hours; haunch of doe venison, 3-1/4 to 3-3/4 hours. Allow less time without the paste.
Average cost, 1s. 4d. to 1s. 6d. per lb.
Sufficient for 18 persons.
Seasonable.—Buck venison in greatest perfection from June to Michaelmas; doe venison from November to the end of January.
THE DEER.—This active tribe of animals principally inhabit wild and woody regions. In their contentions, both with each other and the rest of the brute creation, these animals not only use their horns, but strike very furiously with their fore feet. Some of the species are employed as beasts of draught, whilst the flesh of the whole is wholesome, and that of some of the kinds, under the name of "venison," is considered very delicious. Persons fond of hunting have invented peculiar terms by which the objects of their pursuit are characterized: thus the stag is called, the first year, a calf, or hind-calf; the second, a knobber; the third, a brock; the fourth, a staggard; the fifth, a stag; and the sixth, a hart. The female is, the first year, called a calf; the second, a hearse; and the third, a hind. In Britain, the stag has become scarcer than it formerly was; but, in the Highlands of Scotland, herds of four or five hundred may still be seen, ranging over the vast mountains of the north; and some of the stags of a great size. In former times, the great feudal chieftains used to hunt with all the pomp of eastern sovereigns, assembling some thousands of their clans, who drove the deer into the toils, or to such stations as were occupied by their chiefs. As this sport, however, was occasionally used as a means for collecting their vassals together for the purpose of concocting rebellion, an act was passed prohibitory of such assemblages. In the "Waverley" of Sir Walter Scott, a deer-hunting scene of this kind is admirably described.
VENISON.—This is the name given to the flesh of some kinds of deer, and is esteemed as very delicious. Different species of deer are found in warm as well as cold climates, and are in several instances invaluable to man. This is especially the case with the Laplander, whose reindeer constitutes a large proportion of his wealth. There—
"The reindeer unharness'd in freedom can play,
And safely o'er Odin's steep precipice stray,
Whilst the wolf to the forest recesses may fly,
And howl to the moon as she glides through the sky."
In that country it is the substitute for the horse, the cow, the goat, and the sheep. From its milk is produced cheese; from its skin, clothing; from its tendons, bowstrings and thread; from its horns, glue; from its bones, spoons; and its flesh furnishes food. In England we have the stag, an animal of great beauty, and much admired. He is a native of many parts of Europe, and is supposed to have been originally introduced into this country from France. About a century back he was to be found wild in some of the rough and mountainous parts of Wales, as well as in the forests of Exmoor, in Devonshire, and the woods on the banks of the Tamar. In the middle ages the deer formed food for the not over abstemious monks, as represented by Friar Tuck's larder, in the admirable fiction of "Ivanhoe;" and at a later period it was a deer-stealing adventure that drove the "ingenious" William Shakspeare to London, to become a common player, and the greatest dramatist that ever lived.