Mountain flavor: Chef’s roast venison with chanterelles recipe

Warm your spirit with winter dishes from WV’s top chefs

Morgantown-area chef Marion Ohlinger’s 30-year career as a chef has taken him to more than 40 countries, 5 continents and all 50 states.

A 12-generation West Virginian, Marion was born and raised on his family’s ancestral farm in Mason County, where he cultivated his love for Appalachian cuisine and learned the fundamentals of the farm-to-table tradition by necessity. He brought anecdotes of his travels back to West Virginia in 2003, opened the region’s first Spanish/Latin American restaurant, and later became a proprietor of using local, in-season ingredients in an evolving menu of Appalachian-themed dishes.

His latest restaurant, Hill and Hollow, which will carry the same commitment to local ingredients he has become known for, is scheduled to open in Morgantown in early 2016.

In the meantime, catch Marion at one of his Appalachian Global Dinner Series events, a pop-up kitchen concept designed to highlight the role of Appalachian cuisine in global culture. Or, join the Feast of the Seven Fishes Cooking School, where he’ll be sharing an Italian recipe for the 7-course traditional feast. 

Spice up your cooking game with this wild recipe from Marion Ohlinger:

Roast Venison with Chanterelles


  • One venison roast  (Loin is best, but any whole-muscle cut will work well. Beef or a leg of lamb can also be substituted.)
  • 1/2 pound of chanterelles per pound of venison (Any mushrooms will work, but shiitakes are a great substitute)
  • 2 ounces of unsalted butter per pound of venison
  • sea salt to taste
  • black pepper to taste
  • ground juniper berry, half a teaspoon per pound of venison


1- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Gently pound the roast so it is fairly flat rather than rounded on the top. (Don’t pound it flat like a cube steak; you’re only making a level area for the chanterelles to rest on.)

2- Rub the roast with sea salt, fresh ground black pepper and the juniper. Place on a roasting rack and insert in the oven.

3- Sauté the mushrooms lightly in an iron skillet, with half the butter and a little sea salt. (Don’t cook them thoroughly; you only want to soften them and release the juices.)

4- Put the chanterelles and all the pan juices on top of the roast, and then continue cooking. Marion recommends serving the meat medium rare to medium; Cooking time will depend on the size of the roast, but about 8 minutes per pound is about right— a little less if it’s a thinner roast, a little more of its very thick. Use a meat thermometer to check.

5- Remove roast at 140 degrees, and top the roast and chanterelles with the remaining butter as soon as it is removed.

6- Let it rest for 10 minutes before carving to allow the juices to redistribute themselves and the butter to melt

Taste more mountain flavor >


This post was last updated on July 23, 2020