Rich venison casserole:
Prep: 20 mins.
Cooking: 2 hours or more.
Rating: 3: Moderate.
Venison is beautiful when cooked long and low. It’s like a rich beef.
For 4 people, find:
- 1 kg of boneless stewing venison.
- Root veg – carrots, turnips
- Button onions – the cheap ones from the supermarket
- 1 cloves of garlic
- Olive oil
- Half a bottle of red wine
- Two mugs of stock (see Tricks’n’Tips)
- Some fresh thyme – if not, use dried
- Fresh chopped parsley if you can get hold of it – a handful
- Two tablespoons plain flour
- A large saucepan that will also go into the oven or a large oven dish and a saucepan.
- If the meat is not already cubed, cut to 1” cubes. If it’s already cubed, just trim off any really large lumps of fat. Don’t be over-fussy with the trimming because the long, slow cooking will melt away most of the now-grotty-looking bits – that’s one of the beauties of this dish, it makes beautiful food from relatively low-cost cuts of venison – which itself is not cheap (Quite deer actually!).
- Put some olive oil and butter into the saucepan, allow it to melt and mingle and then introduce the cubes of venison.
- Turn the heat up to high. There needs to be space in the pan for the meat to brown. If the meat is too crowded in the pan, it will start to sweat, lose moisture and refuse to brown. We want the surface to brown, to enhance the flavours of the venison – give it space.
- You may have to do this in several batches, adding further oil/butter as necessary, to get it all browned properly.
- Put all the venison back into the saucepan when browned, and introduce the flour.
- Stir it all in with the oil, butter, juices, etc so that they are all absorbed. Put the wine into saucepan and stir all the sticky bits into the wine.
- Add the stock. Boil up and ensure that all the bits have been loosened from the pan. Add the root veg, onions and garlic.
- If the saucepan is suitable for the oven, put on the lid and pop into the oven at gas mk 4 for an hour, then turn it down to Mk 3. Check after a further hour, or two to ensure it is not drying out. Add more stock if necessary. Ensure that all accompaniments are done.
- If the pan is NOT suitable for use in the oven, tip all the contents into an oven dish and cover with foil and follow as above.
- Serve with Dauphinoise potatoes, French beans, Chantenay carrots and a great big smile on your smug l’il face.
Yes, it is very similar to the Navarine of Lamb recipe; except where it’s different, of course.