Catholic Culture Overview
Catholic Culture Overview

Catholic Recipe: Mock Venison


  • 1 six-pound leg of lamb, fell and excess fat removed
  • 2 cups dry red wine, dark beer, or dark ale
  • 1 cup vinegar
  • 6-8 peppercorns
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 12-15 juniper berries, lightly crushed
  • 1 sprig parsley
  • 2 sprigs thyme or rosemary
  • 2 crushed cloves garlic
  • 2 sliced onions
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon mace
  • 2 teaspoons salt Optional:
  • 10-15 whole cloves
  • 1 cup heavy cream 


Yield: 6 to 8 servings

Prep Time: 3 days

Difficulty:  ★★☆☆

Cost:  N/A

For Ages: n/a



Food Categories (2)


Feasts (2)

Also Called: Leg of Lamb

One of the great festive dishes has traditionally been venison-but for centuries it was accessible only to the nobility; and today not many of us have deer hunters in our families. But here is our consolation, a marvelous Mock Venison: a leg of lamb marinated so that it tastes a great deal like venison.


In a nonreactive bowl (enamel, glass, pottery, or stainless steel) cover the meat with the wine and vinegar. Add the remaining ingredients, except the cloves. Refrigerate for 2 or 3 days (or longer). Turn the meat occasionally.

Dry off the meat, reserving the marinade. Optional: stud it with the cloves. Place the meat on a rack in a roasting pan. Roast it at 400 F. for 30 minutes for rare meat, or longer if you like your lamb well done. Baste frequently with the marinade. Optional: In the last 5 to 10 minutes of cooking, baste the lamb with the cream.

Remove the lamb to a serving platter. Degrease the juices, if necessary. Scrape the pan, and blend the remaining juices into a smooth sauce. Strain and serve with the roast.

Recipe Source: Continual Feast, A by Evelyn Birge Vitz, Ignatius Press, San Francisco , 1985