A passionate little blog started by a deerhound dog in Scotland called Rogue ‘Brylach’ MacAllister and Passed to Rascal ‘Logan’ Dorrator Heath

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Deerhounds provide for the pot

So the deerhound does his work the deer has fallen - what then?

Well Rogue the bookworm was reading from the book lauded as ‘the best book ever written about Scottish food’ - The Scots Kitchen by F. Marian McNeill first published in 1929 and as good today as it ever was.

In this book, many recipes supplied to Meg Dods o the Cleikum Club - an institution made famous in the writings of Sir Walter Scot in St Ronnan’s Well are printed with historic detail.

Anyway to the point of this blog - what to do with the venison? - For your delictation, I have selected from ‘the Dishes of Game and Poultry’

To Roast Red Dear or Roe
(an old Holyrood recipe,* supplied to the Cleikum Club by P. Winterblossom, Esq.)

Venison, Spices, claret, vinegar or lemons, butter, flour, walnut catsup.

Season the haunch highly by rubbing it well with mixed spices. Soak it for six hours in claret and a quarter-pint of the best vinegar or the fresh juice of three lemons; turn it frequently and baste with the liquor. Strain the liquor in which the venison was soaked; add to it fresh butter melted, and with this baste the haunch throughout the whole time it is roasting. Fifteen minutes before the roast is drawn remove the paper, baste with butter, and dredge lightly with flour to froth and brown it.

For sauce. – take the contents of the dripping pan, which will be very rich and highly flavoured, and a half-pint of clear brown gravy, drawn from the venison or full-aged heath mutton. Boil them up together, skim, add a teaspoon of walnut catsup, lemon juice or any of the flavoured vinegars most congenial to venison, and to the taste of the gastronome, may advantageously be substituted.

*“This was one of those original receipts on which our old beau plumed himself not a little. This mode of dressing venison he said, had been invented by the Master of the Kitchen to Mary of Guise, and had been ever since preserved a profound secret by the noble family of M_______, till the late Earl communicated it to himself” Annals of the Cleikum Club

Well hopefully all deerhound owners after a successful days work by the hounds will be heading home to prepare their catch to the above recipe, and enjoy a dish that was once prepared in the Scottish tradition for the mother to Mary Queen of Scots.

More Deerhound Historical Footnotes

No doubt, in her short life, the beautiful Mary Queen of Scots also enjoyed this dish as she was believed to have kept a kennel of deerhounds at Linlithgow palace to hunt the rich forest land of the Forth valley. This was before her half sister Queen Elizabeth I of England had her executed.

And on the Queen Elizabeth front - below is a 16th century plate from a wood cut which depicts Queen Elizabeth I at the taking of a stag on the hunt. She is offered the knife for the kill. In the background we see hunting hounds depicted.

It’s dificult to assertain their breed type but their heads look to large to be deerhounds/ greyhounds and the coat appears smooth with ears rounded. This is most likely a stylised image as we know the hounds would not be bounding around in such a uniform maner. A poor depiction of greyhounds? or the thought is that they may be mastifs of sorts. These dogs were popular with nobles and in particular with the Spanish who used them to forge much of their empire during this period.



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