Venison and coconut curry

We had had venison the other night, and so I made this curry with the left-overs. The original recipe uses venison fillet from a roe or sika deer, but the venison we had was of a more formidable cut. We had pot-roasted it, and so I diced up the remains and hijacked a few other recipes for ideas. I also used up a few bits from the depths of the fridge. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 tbsp coconut oil, or other vegetable oil
  • 2 small red onions, finely sliced
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 500g diced cooked venison
  • 200ml coconut water
  • 200ml coconut milk
  • grated zest and juice of one lime
  • 4 small cloves of garlic, minced
  • 50g ginger root, chopped
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves, or 4 cloves
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp hot chilli powder (I used Kashmiri chilli powder)
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground star anise or 2 star anise 
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 50g tomato puree

METHOD:

  • I use an old coffee grinder attachment with my blender to grind up spice mixes, but a pestle and mortar will do the job. In the spice grinder, grind together the fennel, salt, cumin, cloves, ground star anise (if this is what you have) and garam masala. Add the chopped ginger and the garlic, and grind again. Then add the tomato paste and mix well. 
  • Melt the coconut oil in a large pan and fry the onion with the whole star anise and the cinnamon. Fry over a medium heat for five to ten minutes, until it is begining to brown. Add the spice mixture and continue frying for another couple of minutes 
  • Add the meat and continue frying for another couple of minutes, until it is hot, and then add the coconut water, coconut milk, lime juice and lime zest. Bring the mixture to a simmer, and cook until the meat is hot through, around another five minutes. 

This is good with plain white rice. 

Wild goose chilli

It is goose season again. For those of you that live in the Outer Hebrides, you’ll know that the islands are infested with greylag geese, beautiful wild birds that flock here and eat the grass on the machair, pulling it by the roots. The numbers are not really in control at all, so we are glad to have a few to eat now and again. 

This time, I made a goose chilli. I used my excellent and efficient meat grinder to make coarsly ground mince from two goose breasts. I also used some chipotle chillis that I had got from seasoned pioneers. This is delicious. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 goose breasts, minced
  • 1 can of borlotti beans
  • Vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, peeled and sliced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced
  • 2 tsp crushed chipotle 
  • 1 tbsp fresh marjoram, or 1 tsp dried
  • 2 bayleaves
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • water to moisten
  • 1 can of chopped tomatoes
  • salt and pepper, to taste. 

METHOD:

  • Fry the sliced onion in the oil, stirring, for at least five minutes, so that it is beginning to brown. 
  • Add the sliced garlic, and stir for a minute, then add the rest of the spices, and the mince. Stir and cook so that the mince is looking browned. 
  • Add the tomatoes and the beans, and enough water to moisten the mixture. Bring to a simmer, and cook for an hour, adding water if required to stop it from sticking. I have a habit of reading when I am at this stage, I give it all a stir at the end of each chapter. 
  • Season to taste – I used a couple of good pinches of salt and some freshly ground black pepper

Serve with soured cream and flat breads.

Harissa, chicken, potatoes, carrots and beans

I’m struggling to keep up with garden produce, so I adapted this recipe that I found on-line, and experimented with different combinations. I’m sure you could swap around the vegetables to include what is in season, such as celeriac, bulb fennel, etcetera, anything that does well as a roast vegetable. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 500g jointed chicken
  • 300g potatoes, peeled and in small chunks
  • 300g carrots, peeled and in batons (whole if baby carrots)
  • 1 tbsp harissa (I used rose harissa)
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 100ml dry white wine
  • 200g string beans, top and tail, cut in half (or an alternate vegetable, depending on availability and taste)
  • salt and pepper
  • roughly chopped mint and/or parsley
  • 1 tsp grated lemon zest

METHOD:

  • Heat the oven to 200C
  • Coat the chicken in the harissa, and put this in a roasting dish with the potatoes, carrots, garlic and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and add the white wine. 
  • Roast the chicken mixture for 30 minutes. Add the beans, and cook for another 20 minutes
  • Mix in the lemon zest and garnish with the roughly chopped herbs. 

 

Loin of venison with rosemary and thyme

We were given some very tender loin of venison from a sika deer. Sika deer are a non-native species that have become widespread across the UK, interbreeding with our native species, red deer and roe deer. They pose a threat to the native populations. 

This recipe is from Norman Tebbit’s book of game cookery.

INGREDIENTS:

  • Around 500g venison loin, divided into portions
  • Vegetable oil (not olive oil)
  • 1 tsp dried thyme leaves
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 6 juniper berries
  • a small teaspoon of sea-salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

METHOD:

  • Mix the herbs, juniper berries, salt and pepper in a pestle and mortar, and grind together. 
  • Sprinkle the herbs onto the meat and set aside until needed. Heat the oven to 180C.
  • About ten minutes before you are ready to eat, heat the oil in a large frying pan until it is good and hot. Sear the meat on all sides, and put into a small roasting tin.
  • Cook in the oven for around 8 minutes, while you sort out the vegetables and mash. When the time is up, remove from the oven and allow the meat to relax.
  • Slice the venison and serve on warmed plates. We had mashed potato, Cumberland sauce, spinach and tender-stem broccoli. 

Duck Soup 🤓

There has been a culling of the Muscovy duck flock in Loch Eport. I am planning on a Persian stew with the jointed duck, made with walnuts and pomegranate molasses. After I jointed the duck, I made a delicious broth from the carcase, and then followed and adapted a recipe that I found online, to cover the ingredients available locally. 

The whole time, I was thinking of this classic film: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duck_Soup_(1933_film) 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 duck carcase, chopped into three to fit into the stock pot
  • 2 small onions, chopped into quarters
  • Parsley – could be stalks or leaves
  • 20g dried porcini mushrooms
  • 1/2 head of garlic, cloves chopped across the middle
  • 1 sprig of thyme
  • 2+ bayleaves – I used 4 small leaves
  • 5 black peppercorns
  • 3 medium or 1 very large carrot, finely diced
  • 2 sticks of celery, finely sliced
  • 1 can of flageolet beans (not always available, I used haricot beans instead)
  • 40g pearl barley
  • 150g chard or spinach, chopped roughly
  • 50ml sherry
  • salt to taste – about a teaspoonful
  • freshly ground pepper
  • grated parmesan cheese

METHOD:

  • Put the duck carcase, onions, parsley, porcini mushrooms, garlic, thyme, bay leaves, and peppercorns into the stock pot, and fill with water to cover everything. Bring to a simmer and cook for 2 hours. 
  • Strain the stock, and put in a soup pan. Pick any meat off the carcase and reserve
  • Add the barley, and simmer for 45 minutes. 
  • Add the carrots, celery, bring to a simmer again for 10 minutes, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Add the beans and spinach, and cook for another 5 minutes. 
  • Add the sherry and any duck meat. 

Serve in large soup bowls, garnished with grated parmesan, and with a good bread, such as sour-dough bread. You could also drizzle good quality olive oil on the soup or the bread. 

Curried mutton pie

This is a recipe from ‘Original Flava’ – an excellent starter for West Indian cookery. I didn’t follow the recipe in the book (do I ever) but it reflects my own tastes and also what is available in the garden. I am looking out recipes to use up the last of the maincrop potatoes for last year, and this one fit the bill well. Also, who knew that adding creamed coconut or coconut milk to mashed potato was so good.

Remember to start the night before, and then allow a couple of hours cooking time on the day of eating.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1.2kg mutton, boned and diced
  • 1 tbsp West Indian curry powder (from seasoned pioneers)
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • salt and pepper (approx 1 tsp salt and pepper to taste)
  • vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 200ml coconut milk
  • 125ml water
  • 1/2 tsp scotch bonnet pepper paste, or to taste
  • 2 carrots or 1 turnip, diced.
  • 6+ large maincrop potatoes, such as Maris Piper or Arran Victory, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 125ml coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • A pinch of thyme leaves

METHOD:

  • Put the mutton in a plastic container with the curry powder, dried thyme, ginger, allspice, salt and pepper, and leave in the fridge overnight. 
  • In a large cooking pot, heat the oil and then gently fry the onion and garlic until they are soft
  • Add the spiced mutton, and fry until browned. 
  • Add the 200m coconut milk, water, scotch bonnet and chopped carrots/turnip and mix. Cook on a low heat for a couple of hours until the meat is very tender. Adjust seasoning if required.
  • Preheat the oven to 180C – Gas 4
  • Steam the potatoes for around 15 minutes, until soft and cooked through
  • Mash the potatoes with 125ml coconut milk, butter, salt and pepper, and a pinch of thyme leaves. (The original recipe includes chilli flakes, but I think it is better to have the potato as a contrast, not so spicy)
  • Put the stewed mutton in a casserole dish or deep pie dish, top with the mashed potato, and bake in the oven for 30 minutes, until the mashed potato is beginning to brown. 

I served this with sprouts. It would also be good with a spinach side dish.

 

Mutton Paprika

This stew is so tender, so tasty, and so simple. Tonight we served it with mashed potatoes, but it is also great with dumplings. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1.5 kg neck of mutton or lamb, chopped
  • 3 tbsp mild paprika
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 2 onions, peeled and chopped
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 500ml stock
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • chopped parsley 

METHOD:

  • Check the meat over, remove any excess fat or loose bits of splintered bone. I leave the neck chops with the bone in. 
  • Mix the spices, salt and pepper, flour and meat together in a container, seal it and keep it in the fridge until you are ready to cook; this could be overnight, but don’t worry if you forget and don’t have so much time. 
  • Heat the olive oil in a large casserole pan, and gently fry the onions until they are soft. 
  • Add the meat and heat through, before adding the stock. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 2 hours or so. This can be done in the oven, temp 130 C
  • Once it is cooked, add the lemon juice (which is optional) and serve garnished with chopped parsley. 
  • If you want dumplings, mix 225g self-raising flour with 110g suet and chopped parsley, and add enough ice-cold water to make a loose dough. Make balls of dough about the size of walnuts, and drop them into the stew. Let them cook for around 20 minutes. 

Delicious. Also, adaptable. You can swap around the stock, add wine, add a few herbs such as bay leaves and oregano, add sliced potatoes for the last hour of cooking instead of dumplings. 

Mutton Curry, Jamaican style

I made this with some odd cuts of mutton from the freezer, I had about 1kg of meat, including some ribs and other odds and ends. I started with a recipe from Original Flava for Curry Goat, and scaled up the ingredients. There’s actually several versions on their website, so I didn’t feel so bad adjusting it to fit what I had. I made the main part of the stew the night before I needed it, but because the ingredients needed marinaded, I actually started the prep on Tuesday for a meal on Thursday. The actual cooking part is very easy, and the end result is very very tasty, and quite hot. 

The other thing that would be good to get ahead of starting is some scotch bonnet pepper paste, ground allspice and Caribbean curry powder, which is quite mild. They are all available online. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1kg mutton, cut into chunks about 3cm across
  • Caribbean curry powder – around 3 tbsp
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2cm ginger, chopped
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • Vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 3 cm ginger root, chopped
  • 1 can of coconut milk (I only had around 300ml, not a full can, it was still delicious)
  • 300ml vegetable stock or water
  • 3 spring onions, chopped
  • 1 heaped tsp dried thyme leaves
  • 6 small waxy potatoes, cleaned and cut into chunks
  • 1/3 tsp scotch bonnet chilli paste
  • If you wish, add chopped tomatoes. I added two ripe tomatoes that were minding their own business in the vegetable rack.

METHOD:

  • Chop the meat, leave bones in. In a large container with a lid, mix the mutton with 1 tbsp curry powder, salt, pepper, allspice and turmeric, and leave to marinade in the fridge overnight. 
  • The next day, heat 2 tbsp vegetable oil in a large pan and add a tablespoonful of curry powder. Fry the meat in batches, and set the browned meat aside in a bowl. 
  • Check there is enough oil in the pan, and the fry the onion over a medium to high heat, until it is beginning to brown, and then add the ginger and garlic. Continue to cook for another couple of minutes
  • Add a little coconut milk and the scotch bonnet paste, mix it in and then add the mutton back into the pan. Stir it all together and then add the rest of the coconut milk, tomatoes, another 2 tbsp of curry powder, thyme and stock, and then cook the stew in a slow oven, around 150C for 2 hours. Once this step is complete, you could freeze the stew or put it in the fridge ready to finish the cooking later. 
  • Add the potatoes and the sliced spring onions, and simmer for another 30 minutes, until the potatoes are cooked. 

    This stew is one of those that benefits from being eaten the day after, as the flavours mingle together. Serve with rice. 

Wild goose Jamaican style

The flavour of wild goose goes well with peppers. This spicy stew is adapted from a recipe for beef stew from ‘Original Flava’

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 goose breasts, around 450g meat, cut into 3cm chunks
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp ground allspice
  • 2 tsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 green pepper, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/4 tsp scotch bonnet pepper paste
  • 150ml stock
  • 150ml Guinness or other stout
  • 2 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 large carrots, thickly sliced
  • 250g baby potatoes, cleaned. Cut large potatoes into chunks. 

METHOD:

  • Put 1 tbsp olive oil in a plastic container with the diced goose breasts, salt and pepper, the allspice and soy sauce and mix together. Leave in the fridge overnight. 
  • In the morning, stir in 1 tbsp flour, and let that soak up any spare liquid. 
  • Heat olive oil in a casserole pan, and fry the meat until it is browned. Remove from the pot and set aside. 
  • If necessary, add another splash of oil and fry the onion, garlic and peppers until they are really soft. 
  • Add the Guinness and stir, to get anything stuck from the bottom of the pot mixed in. 
  • Add the beef, beef stock, scotch bonnet paste, thyme and simmer for around 1 1/2 hours. I do this in a low oven, around 150C.
  • Add the potatoes and carrots, and simmer for another 20 minutes, until the potatoes and carrots are cooked. 

Serve with white rice. The first time of trying, I added extra potatoes and didn’t add the rice, and it was a full meal in one pot. 

Sika venison loin – ‘Wellington’

I am lucky. I know someone who had some extremely high-quality sika venison available, and I got a couple of cuts. One cut was a lovely 450g  piece of meat, the loin. Sika deer are smaller than our red deer, but in evolutionary terms, are quite similar. They are originally from Japan and neighbouring countries in the far east, and are an introduced species in Europe. 

I made this dish based on a recipe from Gordon Ramsey, adapted to suit. Remember to take your time, as the ingredients need to be chilled and resting in between bouts of cooking. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 450g sika loin
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • around 400g mushrooms
  • 50g butter
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 1/2 glass dry white wine
  • Salt, pepper, a grate of nutmeg
  • 2 packs of prosciutto, around 10 to 12 slices
  • 320g jus-rol rolled puff pastry (one pack)
  • 1 egg, beaten, or one egg yolk beaten with a little water

METHOD:

  • Heat the oven to 220C
  • While it is heating, put the meat on a roasting tray, brush with olive oil, and season with pepper. Roast for 15 minutes, then remove from the oven and cool, then chill in the fridge for at least 20 minutes
  • Chop the mushrooms to your preferred texture, 
  • Heat 50g butter with 2 tbsp olive oil, add the thyme and the mushrooms and fry gently for around 10 minutes, until the mushrooms are soft. 
  • Add seasoning, and the white wine, and cook until the wine has been absorbed. Don’t worry if the mixture seems loose, the venison needs a little oil. Once the mushrooms are cooked, remove the thyme and set to cool a little. 
  • On a clean linen cloth or clingfilm, lay out the prosciutto so that it is about double thickness, overlapped and about the length of the venison. Spread the cool fried mushrooms over the prosciutto and then place the venison on top. Use the cloth or cling-film to roll up the venison inside the prosciutto, and to tighten the parcel together. Put this in the fridge to rest. 
  • Take out the pastry, lay it out on the paper it came wrapped in, and use a rolling-pin to neaten it up. Unravel the venison/prosciutto parcel and place it along one side of the pastry, so that there is space to fold the pastry over the top. Think of a giant Cornish pasty. Before you fold over, brush the bare pastry and the top and sides of the venison parcel. Fold the pastry over, press and crimp to seal the edges, and transfer back to the roasting tray. Brush the surface with the egg wash, and use the back of a knife to mark diagonal scores along the pastry.  Chill for 30 minutes.
  • Heat the oven to 200C. Cook the Wellington for 20 to 25 minutes. Allow to stand for around 10 minutes before slicing into thick portions.

We served this with celeriac and potato mash, and garden carrots simmered in a little white wine, butter and thyme.