Venison or beef with port, guinness and pickled walnuts

This is another recipe from Delia Smith’s Christmas recipe book. It is also available widely online. It is delicious. I serve it with mashed potato, or with potato mashed with celeriac.

The quantities below serve 10-12. It is easy to halve the quantities.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2.75 kg venison or beef, cut into flattish cubes around 3cm across
  • 1.2 litres of guinness
  • 275 ml ruby port
  • 2 bayleaves
  • 4 sprigs of thyme
  • 2 large onions, sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 400g jars of pickled walnuts, drained and quartered
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • salt and pepper

METHOD:

  • The night before, put the meat in a large plastic container with bayleaf, thyme, port and guinness. Seal the top and give the mixture a good shake. A good technique is to put the ingredients in a bowl with a small plate on the top to ensure all the meat is immersed.
  • The next day, pre-heat the oven to 140C.
  • Melt half the butter/oil in a casserole dish and heat gently. Drain the meat, reserving the marinade for later. Pat the meat dry before frying off in small batches, until it is browned. Take the meat from the pan as each batch cooks, and set it aside.
  • Add the rest of the butter and oil to the pan, and melt together over a moderate heat until it starts to bubble. Add the onions and brown this for around 8 minutes. Add the garlic and continue to fry for another couple of minutes
  • Return the meat to the casserole dish, stir in the flour, and then pour in the marinade, add the walnuts and season with salt and pepper.
  • Bring the casserole to a simmer, then put the lid on, and transfer the whole thing to the warm oven for 3 hours.

Chille con Carne

I didn’t make this tonight, but I have tested this recipe often enough to know that it is the best. It is from The Organic Meat Cookbook by Frances Bissell. I’ve had this book for a while, and just about everything that I have made is delicious. This recipe can be made with beef mince, or with finely chopped venison. I don’t like minced venison, just doesn’t work well.

This can be served with rice or bread, with yoghurt as a side dish.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 680g minced beef or diced venison
  • 2 cans of red kidney beans, or 450g dried beans, scalded and then soaked overnight
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 3 tsp ground cumin
  • 3 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • 280ml stock
  • salt and pepper
  • chopped coriander or parsley

METHOD:

  • In a large casserole dish, fry the onion in the olive oil until it is golden.
  • Add the mince or finely diced meat, and cook until browned. Stir in the spices so the meat is well-coated.
  • Add the tomatoes, stock and beans, and enough water to ensure all the ingredients are covered.
  • Simmer very slowly in the oven for 3-4 hours.
  • Check the seasoning just before serving, and garnish with chopped herbs.

Minced Meat Curry

One of my stand-by recipe books is a rather unglamorous and battered book, called the Complete Farmhouse Kitchen Cookbook. In my quest to cook about 40 different recipes with beef mince, I tried this, and it was delicious. I served it with plain basmati rice, and used up some coconut milk that I had, rather than following the recipe exactly.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 green chillies, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh ginger root
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp turmerig
  • 450g minced beef
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 cup of frozen peas

METHOD:

  • Heat the oil, and gently fry the onion.
  • As it becomes well cooked, almost beginning to brown, add the garlic, ginger, chillies and the spices, and stir together until well mixed.
  • Add the meat and continue to cook over a low heat.
  • Once is browned, add the tomato puree, and the coconut milk, mix together and bring back to a simmer.
  • Cover and simmer slowly for around 1 hour.
  • Add the peas and cook for another 10 minutes before serving.

Risotto with Beef and Tomato Ragu

You can make this with any left-over bolognese Ragu, or do as I did – make the ragu from scratch. I made double, ate some for tea with pasta, froze some, and made the risotto with the rest. This is from Risotto Risotto.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 large carrot, peeled and diced
  • 1 stick of celery, diced
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 slices of unsmoked bacon, chopped
  • 250g minced beef
  • 1 glass of red wine
  • 400g can of tomatoes, pureed in the tin
  • 1 bayleaf
  • salt and pepper
  • 500g risotto rice
  • 1.5 litres of stock
  • 25g butter
  • 50g grated parmesan

METHOD:

  • Make the ragu sauce first, preferably the day before. Fry all the chopped vegetables and bacon in the oil until the vegetables are soft.
  • Add the mince and the wine, and fry until the meat is brown and the alcohol has boiled away.
  • Add the pureed tomatoes, bayleaf, and season with salt and pepper. Cover and leave to simmer for 2 hours until rich and dense. Check frequently to ensure that it is not ‘sticking’.
  • Next, add the rice to the ragu, and stir at a simmer until the mixture looks dry.
  • Keep the stock on the boil, and add a ladleful at a time, stirring constantly and allowing the liquid to be absorbed before the next ladleful is added.
  • Continue in this way for around 20 minutes; the rice will be firm and cooked through, and the risotto will be creamy. Take the risotto off the heat, remove the bayleaf, and stir in the butter and parmesan cheese.
  • Cover and leave to rest for a few minutes, before transferring to a warmed platter and serving.

Moroccan Beef and Fig Stew

This is one of a series of mince recipes. I have just bought a large quantity of mince from Dr Louise, who is downsizing her herd. Delicious dishes, I’m sure the great quality of the meat has a lot to do with it.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 450g minced beef
  • 1 tbsp butter or vegetable oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 large carrots, diced
  • 1 stick of celery, diced
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 3 tsp ras-el-hanout
  • 8 dried figs, finely chopped
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • 3 tbsp tomato puree
  • 150ml stock
  • Coriander leaf, chopped
  • 2 tsps lemon zest

METHOD:

  • Heat the oil or butter in a large pan over a medium heat, and gently fry the onion, garlic, carrot, celery, paprika, cumin and ras-el-hanout. Stir together and let this gently cook for around five minutes.
  • Add the beef, stir and cook until it is all well mixed, and the mince is browned.
  • Stir in the figs, tomatoes and tomato paste, then pour in the stock. Bring to a simmer, and let it cook over a low heat for 20 minutes.
  • Stir in the coriander and lemon zest just before serving.

I served this with nan bread.

Greek pot-roast beef with spaghetti

This recipe combines local beef with a recipe from The Home Book of Greek Cookery by Joyce M. Stubbs, which I bought in a jumble sale in the 1980s for 20p. This was very easy and very tasty as well.

INGREDIENTS:

    • 3-4lb rolled beef, for example brisket or silver-side
    • 250ml olive oil
    • 2 medium onions
    • 4 cloves of garlic
    • 1 dsp sugar
    • 3 tbsp tomato paste (organic paste from the wholefood co-op)
    • 1 stick or 1 tsp cinnamon (all herbs and spices available from the wholefood co-op)
    • 1 bayleaf
    • 2 cloves
    • salt and pepper
    • Spaghetti (75g per person)
    • grated parmesan

METHOD:

  • Heat the oil in a heavy pan and brown the meat on all sides.
  • Remove the meat from the pan, and add the finely chopped onions, garlic, salt and pepper, and the spices, and fry very gently together
  • Mix the tomato paste with 300ml of hot water, and add to the fried onions. Bring to a simmer, and add the bayleaf and the meat.
  • Simmer for around 2-3 hours, either on the hob or in a low oven, until the meat is tender and the sauce is thick and rich. Keep an eye on the pot-roast and add a little water if it looks like it might boil dry.
  • Cook the spaghetti according to the instructions on the pack.
  • To serve, mix about half of the sauce with the spaghetti, divide between the serving plates, and top with parmesan cheese. Next add a thick slice of meat and another spoonful of sauce.
  • The book also suggests serving the pasta as one course and the meat as part of the next course.

Beefheart and kidney stew

INGREDIENTS:

  • One beefheart, chopped into large cubes
  • 2 lamb or pig kidneys, prepared and chopped
  • 1 or 2 rashers of streaky smoked bacon, or lardons
  • 2 shallots
  • 1 florence fennel (if available)
  • vegetable oil, dripping or other cooking fat
  • 1 large glass of wine
  • 1 can organic butterbeans
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 2 bayleaves
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 heaped tbsp flour blended with a little butter

METHOD:

  • Using a deep cast-iron casserole dish, heat the cooking fat and fry off the chopped meat, and set aside.
  • Fry the bacon in the fat with the finely chopped shallots
  • Add the meat back to the pan, along with the glass of wine, herbs, salt and pepper, and bring to a simmer
  • Cook in a very slow oven, around 110C for approximately five hours
  • Add the beans and the flour mixture, stir and cook for another 20 minutes or so.

We ate this with mashed potato, carrots and leeks. Any left-over stew could be used for a pie filling.

Beef Cheeks

We are working through the lower reaches of our freezer, and someone has given us beef cheeks. I am very keen on eating all of the animal, waste is a terrible thing.

Beef cheeks are tough, cheap and extremely tasty cuts of meat that need long cook times to make them tender. You could use shin of beef or venison for this recipe instead.

First off, I had to prepare the beef cheek. I started with about 600g of meat, but a lot of it was sheets of fat and connective tissue. I trimmed it, using a very sharp knife, and then cut the remaining sheets of meat into pieces about the size of half a post-card, and about 1 cm thick.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 600g ox/beef cheeks
  • seasoned flour, 2 tbsp
  • 2 tbsp olive oil or butter
  • 2 large Carrots, chopped
  • 2 sticks Celery, chopped
  • 1 Onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves Garlic
  • a dash Brandy
  • 300ml Red Wine
  • 1 clove
  • half tsp of ground cinnamon
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 1 pinch of aniseed
  • 4 sprigs of time, or 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 can of tomatoes, blended
  • 2 Anchovies (you can buy these in a jar, in oil)
  • Salt and Black pepper
  • Flat Leaf Parsley, to serve.

METHOD:

Pre-heat the oven to 150 degrees celsius.

  • Trim the cheeks as described above, coat each piece with seasoned flour. Heat the oil in a large casserole dish, and brown the cheeks. Once they are done, remove from the pan and set aside.
  • Slice the onions, carrots, garlic and celery and cook in the same pan over a medium to low heat, until soft. Add a little more butter or olive oil if required
  • Once the vegetables are soft, increase the heat and add the meat back to the pan, with the can of pureed tomatoes. Mix to coat the ox cheeks and veg in the puree and bring to a simmer.
  • Add the wine, brandy, clove, cinnamon, thyme, bayleaves, aniseed and anchovies, and bring to a simmer. Put the pan into the oven to cook for 2 1/2 hours.You may wish to check that there is enough liquid in the pan half way; add stock or water if necessary
  • After 2 1/2 hours, check that the meat is tender, and turn the oven off, leaving the pan in the oven. Use this time to make mashed potatoes, cook any additional vegetables, have a cheeky wee glass of wine, and remember to warm the plates.

We had this with mashed potatoes, but the original recipe suggested polenta as an alternative. It was delicious.

Ragu – bolognese sauce

This is the bolognese sauce that goes into lasagne, or any other kind of pasta. There are many versions of this sauce, this is based on more than one recipe.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 stick of celery, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, chopped
  • 250g beef mince
  • 50g pancetta or other bacon, ham, lardon etc
  • Butter
  • 1 can of chopped tomatoes, pureed
  • 200ml white wine
  • 1 glass of ‘marigold’ stock
  • 1 bayleaf
  • nutmeg
  • salt and pepper

METHOD:

  • Chop the pancetta, or other bacon, and fry gently in a little butter
  • Chop and add the onion, celery and carrot, and continue to fry gently, until everything is browned.
  • Add the beef mince, and stir so that it is browned evenly.
  • Add the tomato and the white wine, and season with salt, pepper, nutmeg, and add the bayleaf.
  • Add the stock, bring to the boil, cover and simmer for at least 40 minutes. The longer the better.

I prefer to make this the night before, so that the flavour develops.