Just in case you are reading this and wondering what on earth muntjac is: it's a type of deer, lighter and generally less gamey than venison with a very low fat content and a wonderful taste which I would compare to rare beef.
We get lots of muntjac in the area I live in as we are quite close to where muntjac originated. Well obviously not originally - originally they were from China but were brought to Bedfordshire in about 1900 by the Duke of Bedford.
Escapes and deliberate releases have resulted in a fairly wide spread of wild Reeves" Muntjac to give them their full name. Interesting fact - they are believed to be the oldest breed of deer with prehistoric remains found dating back to as long as 35 million years ago!
They are considered a serious threat to woodland management as they will eat almost any plant material and therefore I am occasionally offered haunches by a local gamekeeper who owns and manages a local ancient woodland.
So - onto cooking. You can slow cook it in a variety of ways but I prefer roast meat. Due to the low fat content it's best to roast quickly. You might want to play safe and cover with bacon too but I didn't last time I cooked it - recipe to follow.
Like all deer muntjac works well with red wine, rosemary and redcurrant in jelly or jam form. You can substitute wine for port and redcurrant for cranberry or even lingonberry jam which you can buy from Ikea - this will give a slighter more "tart" taste.
This recipe will leave the meat rare-medium rare - if you like your meat well done, choose a different one as muntjac is inedible well cooked.
1 haunch muntjac
handful of fresh rosemary
2 cups red wine
4 tbsp redcurrant jelly
1 tbsp oil
beef or vegetable gravy granules
mashed potatoes prepared to your usual recipe (or 1 bag frozen mash!)
2 tbsp wholegrain mustard
1 tbsp butter
Preheat oven to 220 degrees C (200C fan oven, 400F GAs Mark 6) whilst preparing meat.
Place haunch intoa roasting tin and drizzle oil over top. Add rosemary then 1 cup of wine. Smush 2 tbsp redcurrant jelly over joint. At this point you could add bacon rashers - I didn't have any!
Cover joint loosely with foil and place into hot oven for 25 minutes.
After 25 minutes turn temp down to 175 degrees C (155C fan oven, 340F, gas mark 3-4) and cook for a further 20 minutes.
Remove foil and insert sharp thin knife or skewer into thickest piece of haunch to check how rare it is - if there's lots of blood cook for another 10-20 minutes. Remember resting meat will mean it continues to cook so don't be tempted to overcook at this point.
Remove from oven, re-cover meat with the foil and rest meat for 10-20 minutes while you prepare mash.
Mash potatoes as usual then stir in the extra butter, the mustard and if necessary a small amount of milk. Ensure mustard is well distributed throughout the mash.
Make gravy by stirring 2 tbsp redcurrant jelly and a cup of red wine into the meat juices left in roasting tin. Deglaze pan on hob- this just means heat on high bringing the liquid to a boil while you scrape the brown bits off the bottom and they dissolve into the sauce.
Thicken sauce with gravy granules or if preferred use 2 tbsp flour mixed with 1/4 cup cold water to thicken.
I served slices of muntjac atop a mound of mustard mash with a couple of tbsps sauce drizzled over top and onto plate - I served extra sauce in a gravy boat at the table.
I chose roast potatoes, asparagus and broccoli shoots as my sides for this dinner - obviously pick your favourites according to the season. Excuse the quality of the photo - I may have drunk some of the wine as well as cooked with it!