I'll Marry You, but Hold the Tang

Back in college I tried to impress my girlfriend with a dinner of barbecued deer ribs garnished with Cumberland sauce.

pot roast, venison recipe
A recipe for venison pot roast.Field & Stream Online Editors

Back in college I tried to impress my girlfriend with a dinner of barbecued deer ribs garnished with Cumberland sauce. As thick, greasy smoke rolled out of the broiler, I reread the sauce recipe. Okay, I was a little short of red currant jelly and fresh-squeezed orange juice. No problem: a quick search of the kitchen turned up a jar of Welch's grape jelly and plenty of Tang.

You might suppose venison and Tang to be a recipe for disaster. You'd be so very right. This wasn't a run-of-the-mill cooking disaster; it was Chernobyl with more smoke. Pam married me, despite the dinner. Now I hunt, she cooks, and the air is much cleaner for it.

Here's her recipe for venison pot roast, which doesn't call for instant-beverage powder:

2- to 3-pound venison roast
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, sliced
1/2 pound baby carrots
3 parsnips, peeled, sliced lengthwise, and cut into pieces
1 stalk celery, sliced
1 bay leaf
4 whole cloves
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
6 sprigs fresh parsley
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 cup water
2 teaspoons salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oil at medium-high in a Dutch oven or large electric skillet. Brown meat on all sides. Remove and set aside. Lower the heat to medium. In the same pan, sauté onion, carrot, parsnip, and celery until onion is transparent but not browned, about 7 to 10 minutes. Add bay leaf, cloves, thyme, and parsley. Return meat to pot, sprinkle with balsamic vinegar, and add water. Cover and cook at a very low simmer for 2 to 21/2 hours, turning once. Remove meat, slice it, and return it to the pan. Add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Simmer very gently for 15 minutes. Serve with rice, noodles, or mashed potatoes.