Gin Cured Borders Roe Deer with Celeriac Remoulade, Capers & Truffle Emulsion by Derek Johnstone, Head Chef at Borthwick Castle

Curing meats using salt is a practice which has been handed down through the centuries, by communities and cultures all over the world.

This is such a primitive way of preservation, but it’s one that is highly effective and, for this reason, it has remained very popular to this day. As they say – if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

Indeed, the practice of curing, which was around in ancient Greek and Roman times, was still the preferred method of preserving meat and fish up until as recently as the late 19th century.

Curing venison, or indeed any other meat, involves a fairly simple process designed to draw out the moisture in the food. The reason for doing so preserves the shelf life of the eat and enhances the flavours. There are a handful of different approaches, but the most common involve salt, and occasionally sugar – and in this recipe, gin.

I use the curing technique at Borthwick Castle for all our charcuterie and smoked salmon, and it’s one which is straightforward enough to try in the kitchen at home.

Today I would like to share a seasonal recipe that we are currently offering on our menu at the Castle.

The celeriac remoulade really complements the venison while the capers add a tanginess to the dish.

In my opinion, this is a perfect starter for this time of year, thanks in part to its very delicate flavour. You could even enjoy it outside as an al fresco lunch if the weather stays dry!


For the cured roe deer:

300g of Roe Deer Loin trimmed

50ml gin

60g light muscovado sugar

60g sea salt

2g juniper berries

2g coriander seeds

2g black peppercorns

For the celeriac remoulade:

400g peeled celeriac

50g mayonnaise

5g Arran mustard

A squeeze of lemon juice

A pinch of salt

2g chopped parsley

For the truffle emulsion:

3 egg yolks

2g Dijon mustard

50ml white truffle oil

200ml olive pomace oil

15ml cider vinegar

Salt, to taste

To garnish:

Rapeseed oil, for drizzling

40 Lilliput capers

100g rocket leaves


For the cured roe deer:

1. Place the salt, sugar, gin, juniper, pepper and coriander seeds into a food processor and blitz together.

2. Place the roe deer into a clean container and cover with the salt and sugar mixture. Marinade the venison for 12 hours, turning every 4 hours.

3. Once the roe deer has been cured, lightly brush off the curing mixture with a clean cloth.

4. Place the roe deer on a sheet of cling film, roll into a tight sausage and place in the freezer for several hours.

5. Once the cured roe deer is firm enough to slice, remove from the freezer, unwrap and slice.

For the celeriac remoulade:

1. Slice the celeriac into thin matchsticks and season lightly with salt. This will help to soften the celeriac.

2. Add the mayonnaise, Arran mustard and lemon juice to the sliced celeriac and mix well, then add the chopped parsley. Set aside until ready to serve.

For the truffle emulsion:

1. Place the egg yolks and mustard into a glass bowl and whisk together. While whisking continually, slowly add both oils and the vinegar until they have become fully incorporated.

2. Season with salt to taste.

To assemble:

To assemble the dish, arrange the sliced meat on a serving plate, drizzle with a little rapeseed oil, and sprinkle with sea salt. Top with a generous spoon of celeriac remoulade and garnish with Lilliput capers and rocket leaves.