Technically venison is defined as the meat of any game animal, but in common usage the term refers to the meat of deer, elk or moose. Traditionally venison was hunted in the wild, but today many kinds of deer are commercially farmed. Farmed venison has a milder flavour than wild, and is generally more tender and better marbled. Venison is very lean, so for slow roasting it is best to use a shoulder or rib roast, which are the fattiest portions. A thin slice of pork fat may also be tied to the outside, to prevent drying.
Pat dry all exposed surfaces of the roast. Preheat a dry skillet until nearly smoking, and place the roast in the pan with the fat side down. Sear to a rich brown on all sides.
Remove the roast to a cutting board, and pour 1/2 cup of water into the skillet. Stir vigorously with a wooden spoon, to get up any cooked on juices. Pour into the roasting pan. If you are using the optional red wine, substitute that for the water.
Season the roast to taste with salt and pepper, and any other ingredients specified in your recipe. Tie the slices of pork fat to one side of the roast, using kitchen twine. Place the venison in the roasting pan, with the pork fat at the top. Add the rest of the red wine, if using.
Roast the venison in a covered pan at 149 degrees Celsius until the internal temperature reaches 62.8 degrees C, approximately 90 minutes. Remove the roast to a serving tray and cover with aluminium foil. Allow it to rest for 10-20 minutes. Skim the fat from the pan juices, and reduce them until they are thick enough to coat a spoon. Serve with the meat as a sauce.
Venison is best when cooked to medium-rare. This is safe with farmed venison, but wild-caught venison may contain the parasite that causes trichinosis. When roasting wild venison, cook it to 71.1 degrees Celsius to ensure food safety. The classic French repertoire includes many fine recipes for venison. Check your library for a copy of the Larousse Gastronomique, an encyclopedic guide to classic cuisine.