For Christmas, we had pot-roast venison, with a lemon and horseradish gravy. We had a lot of venison for two people, so I also made this curry. It is adapted from a very odd recipe from the BBC website – the quantities were mad, and didn’t match between imperial and metric, so I sort of made up the gaps. It was delicious, although rather hot. I’d like to make it again, so here is what I did.
I am lucky to live in a place where wild venison from red deer is readily available. This year I have bought my venison from South Uist Estates. We’ve now got rather a lot in the freezer, and the Christmas Day menu is sorted.
Tonight I made a casserole using the recipe in The Game Cook by Norman Tebbit. I did add a few variations, couldn’t help myself. It was very very good.
900g shoulder of venison, diced
100g smoked pancetta, or streaky bacon cut into 1cm cubes
2 tbsp plain flour, seasoned with salt and pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
1 white onion, finely chopped
2 sticks of celery, finely chopped
1 large carrot, diced
1 clove of garlic, crushed
150ml red wine
100g mushrooms, roughly chopped
Bouquet garni (I used the mystery herbs with added bayleaves)
a couple of good shakes of Worcestershire sauce (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
150ml red wine
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp brandy or rum
1 medium red onion, finely chopped
6 black peppercorns
Peel of 1/4 orange, shredded
Put all of the marinade ingredients in a plastic box with a secure lid. Add the venison, shake it all around to mix, and then leave overnight in the fridge.
Preheat the oven to 170C
Take the venison out of the marinade, wipe off the chopped onion and orange, and set aside. Strain the marinade and save that as well.
Heat the oil and butter together in a large casserole dish, and gently fry the pancetta. Once it starts cooking, add the chopped onion, carrot, garlic and celery, and continue to cook until the vegetables are beginning to brown.
Toss the venison in the seasoned flour, and then add the flour, herbs and meat to the pan. Keep stirring the meat in the pan until it starts to brown.
Once the mixture is really dry, add the marinade, the red wine and the stock, a good splash of Worcestershire sauce, and bring to the boil and reduce to a simmer. The liquid should cover the vegetables and meat.
Add the mushrooms, check for seasoning, and then put the casserole into the oven for a couple of hours.
Serve with mashed potato, and a green vegetable. Try adding celeriac to the mash, or serving with roasted parsnips.
Turkish savoury pastries come in many flavours and shapes, using different pastries, fillings, styles and cooking techniques. These Borecik roses were one of the dishes we made in Istanbul, when we participated in the Cookistan cookery school.
The pastry that we used was prepared in a small shop in a traditional way, sold as large round circles of thin and pliable pastry. These sheets are called yufka, and are a bit more robust than filo pastry. They are available from Turkishop, but you could substitute filo.
1 sheet of yufka
2 small onions, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic
3 tbsp olive oil
250g plain yoghurt
salt and pepper
red pepper flakes
Cut the sheet of pastry into four.
Kneed the meat with the onions, pepper and salt.
Mix the milk with the olive oil, and use this to wet one side of the sheet of pastry.
Put a quarter of the mince mixture in a line along the curved edge of each segment of the pastry sheet. Roll the sheet around the mince to form a snake. These snake pastries can be frozen for use later, handy for making a feast at short notice.
Coil each snake to make a snail shape.
Put the snail shapes onto a greased baking sheet, brush with beaten egg, and bake in the oven at 200C for 35 to 40 minutes.
To serve, mix yoghurt and garlic, and put a dollop on the top of each pastry.
Next, melt the butter and fry the chilli flakes, and drizzle this on top of the yoghurt.