I have quite a bit of South Uist Venison in the freezer, so be prepared for some variations on this theme. I made this rich Hungarian stew last night, and it is delicious. It is usually served with dumplings. The key is to stew the onions very slowly, preferably in lard, and to add the paprika fairly late in the proceedings. There will seem to be an unfeasibly large quantity of onions, but don’t worry, this works.
- 60g lard
- 900kg venison, cut into slabs about 1 inch thick, and about the size of half a postcard
- salt and pepper
- 4 onions, chopped (about 750g)
- 2 tsp caraway seed
- 2 tbsp sweet paprika
- 2 tsp hot paprika
- 1 tsp dried marjoram
- 1 can chopped tomatoes
- 500ml beef stock or venison stock
- 300ml red wine
- Melt the large in a large casserole dish, and brown the venison in batches, and set aside on a dish. You can season the venison as it cooks
- In the same pan, add the onions and caraway seeds, and cook over a medium heat. Stir often and cook until the onions are browned. This might take up to 30 minutes.
- Add the venison, and all of the other ingredients and bring back to a simmer. Cook in the oven at 140C for a couple of hours
- Make your favourite dumplings, if this is your thing. I had mashed potato and celeriac.
- When the stew is done, break up the meat a bit with a pair of forks. Serve with the dumplings and sour cream for those that wish to add it.
It is raining this morning, so I am looking out the soup recipes.
- 3 medium to large onions, peeled and thinly sliced into rings.
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 50g butter
- 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 1/2 tsp brown sugar
- 1.2 litres of hot stock
- 300ml white wine
- 2 tbsp brandy
- salt and pepper
- 1 baguette
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large clove of garlic, crushed
- 250g Emmental cheese, grated.
- Preheat the oven to 180C gas 4
- Mix 1 tbsp olive oil with one clove of crushed garlic, and put into an oven-proof tray or baking sheet.
- Slice the baguette into thin slanting slices, and mix with the olive oil and garlic.
- Bake for 20 minutes.
- In a large saucepan or casserole dish, on a high heat, melt 50g of butter with 2 tbsp of olive oil, and when this is very hot, add the onions, garlic and sugar, and keep turning and stirring until the onions are getting quite dark around the edges.
- Reduce the heat right down, and cook very slowly for another 30 minutes or so.
- Pour in the stock and wine, and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer, and then cook very gently for about an hour. Don’t cover with a lid.
- Just before serving, put the grill on.
- Transfer the soup into a tureen or serving bowls. Put the toasted baguette onto the soup, cover with the grated cheese and put everything under the grill until the cheese is melted and bubbling.
- Garnish with chopped parsley and serve. The bowls will be very hot, so be careful.
My recipe for Stifatho comes from The Home Book of Greek Cookery by Joyce M. Stubbs. I bought it in a jumble sale in 1987, and it has been in use ever since. There are many other versions online. The trickiest bit was to find small onions or shallots. Shallots grow well here. The ones in the shops are a bit too large, you are hoping to use shallots or onions about the size of a walnut.
- 1kg stewing steak, cut into portions about the size of half a post-card and 1cm thick
- 1kg shallots or pickling onions
- 200ml olive oil
- 1 can of tomatoes
- 200ml red wine
- 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground cumin
- salt and pepper
- In a skillet, brown the meat in hot olive oil and put into a casserole dish.
- Cover the meat with hot water, and stew gently in a moderate oven (140C) for an hour.
- Using a soup wand, puree the tin of tomatoes, and add them to the meat, along with the peeled whole onions, garlic cloves, bay leaves, spices, red wine, wine vinegar, and the rest of the olive oil.
- Bring the stew to a simmer, stir, cover with a lid and return to the oven for at least another two hours.
- Once the meat is tender, and the sauce is rich and thick, take it out of the oven and set to one side. Check seasoning and add salt and pepper at this stage.
- Cook some small potatoes, and serve with the stew. The stew could be served with mashed potatoes, or in small bowls with a side-serving of boiled potatoes.