Searing the venison before coating it with spices ensures that the spices retain their potency but don't burn before the venison is cooked. A sweet and sour pear and berry mostarda is the perfect condiment for this lean roast.
For the Mostarda
- 1 1⁄3 cups sugar
- 1⁄2 cup cider vinegar
- 3 tbsp. ground mustard
- 3 tbsp. yellow mustard seeds
- 1 1⁄2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
- 1⁄4 cup dried cherries
- 1⁄4 cup dried currants
- 2 firm pears, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2" pieces
- 1 (2"-piece) ginger, peeled and minced
- Finely grated zest of 1 orange grated zest of 1 orange
For the Venison
- 1⁄3 cup juniper berries
- 1⁄3 cup olive oil
- 2 tbsp. kosher salt, plus more to taste
- 2 tbsp. whole black peppercorns, plus ground to taste
- 1 tbsp. caraway seeds
- 1 tbsp. coriander seeds
- 1 tbsp. unsalted butter
- 1 rack venison (with 8 bones), bones frenched
Make the mostarda: Whisk sugar, vinegar, ground mustard, mustard seeds, cinnamon, and 2 cups water in a 4-qt. saucepan. Stir in remaining ingredients; boil. Reduce heat to medium; simmer until pears are tender and liquid is thickened, about 45 minutes. Let cool.
Make the venison: Heat oven to 475°. Combine juniper berries, 1⁄4 cup oil, salt, peppercorns, and caraway and coriander seeds in a food processor; pulse into a wet, gravel-like consistency and set aside. Add remaining oil and the butter to a 12" ovenproof skillet; heat over medium-high. Season venison with salt and pepper; cook, turning as needed, until browned, 8–10 minutes. Coat rack with reserved juniper berry mixture; roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the rack reads 140°, about 30 minutes for medium-rare. Let venison rest 5 minutes before carving; serve with mostarda.