This is a recipe from Elizabeth David ‘French Provincial Cooking’. We are making our way through the prodigious quantities of food in the freezer, and this time I hauled out a stew pack of venison. This was easy and tasty, I used the timer function on my oven to cook it slowly through the afternoon.
- Around 900g to 1kg venison. If it is in one piece, tie it to a sausage shape
- 4 tbsp full-bodied red wine
- 4 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp flour (I used gluten-free flour)
- salt and pepper
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 rashers of streaky bacon
- 1 onion, sliced
- Put the venison in a container with a lid, and add the red wine, vinegar and olive oil. Leave to marinade overnight.
- Put the meat in a smallish casserole dish with the marinade. In a small cup, mix the flour with a little marinade to make a paste, and stir that in, also add the bay leaves and salt and pepper.
- Over the top of the meat, layer slices of onion and then streaky bacon.
- Cover, and cook at 150C for four hours.
We served this with fried mushrooms and potato and celeriac mash.
I made the weekly raid on the freezer for my birthday evening meal, and pulled out a shank of red deer venison. I hadn’t cooked this cut before, so I did a bit of googling, looked at the ingredients in the fridge and then made this braised venison. I think it would have worked well for up to two shanks, so we have ended up with a very tasty gravy for a second meal.
I’ve got really into using gluten-free flour as a thickener for stews and soups, the consistency of the gravy is good, not gluey at all.
- 1 or 2 red deer venison shanks (see above)
- 2 shallots or 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1 large carrot, peeled and diced
- 2 small or 1 large stick of celery, diced
- approx 50g butter
- olive oil
- 1 can chopped tomatoes
- a bay leaf
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 250ml red wine
- 250ml vegetable stock
- salt and pepper
- 2 tsp juniper berries, bruised in a pestle and mortar
- 1 tbsp gluten-free flour
- Season the venison well with salt and pepper.
- In a pan that is big enough to cook the shanks, melt the butter in the olive oil. Set the oven to 150C
- Over a moderate heat, brown the shanks, one at a time, and then set aside.
- Reduce to a low heat, add the onions, carrots and celery to the same pan, and cook until softened.
- Add the red wine, and reduce
- Add the stock, bay, thyme, and juniper and tomatoes and cook down for around 15 minutes. This will give a better consistency and taste at the end.
- Add the venison shanks, bring back to a simmer and then cook in the oven for 4 hours. For the last 30 minutes of cooking, prepare any side dishes such as mash, cabbage, etcetera.
- At the end of cooking, remove the shanks from the pan, and mix the flour with a spoon or two of the gravy before adding to the pan and bringing to a simmer for around 5 minutes.
I have used red wine and chocolate before, in a stew with beef, served with fried potatoes and prunes in brandy, stunning. This I tried after watching a videoclip of Gordon Ramsey cooking venison backstrap. No quantities were given, but I have found some clues elsewhere. I added rather too much chocolate the first time. I also struggled to find all of the ingredients he used, so I had to substitute a little.
- Venison back-strap – allow a piece of meat around 5cm x 5cm x 2.5cm, approx 200g or similar for each person. I took one piece of the back-strap and cut it into three. I used local red deer venison.
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 3 tsp butter
- 3 shallots or one white onion if shallots are not available – finely chopped
- 1 clove of garlic – finely chopped
- 2 bayleaves
- 5 sprigs of thyme, or a tsp dried thyme
- 12 black peppercorns, ground
- 1 tsp balsamic vinegar (the original recipe uses raspberry vinegar, but not available locally
- 300ml chicken stock
- 300ml red wine
- 30g unsweetened dark chocolate, finely chopped or grated.
- 100g smoked pancetta or streaky bacon
- Heat the oven to 220C. Cut some grease-proof paper, one section for each serving, and large enough to wrap up a portion of venison.
- Lightly season the venison with salt. Heat the oil in a pan until it is very hot, and then sear the venison on all sides.
- For each portion of venison, place on a piece of grease-proof paper, add a teaspoon of butter, wrap and put onto a small roasting tray. Put into the oven for eight to nine minutes.
- To make the sauce, fry the onion and pancetta in a small pan with a little olive oil , thyme, bayleaves and black pepper. As it starts to brown, add the garlic until that too is cooked.
- Add 300ml red wine, and reduce to a thick sauce by simmering.
- Add 300ml stock, and reduce by simmering.
- Strain out the solid ingredients. To the hot sauce, add a teaspoon of vinegar, and then whisk in the grated chocolate over a low heat. Do not bring back to the boil, just hot enough to melt the chocolate and no more.
- Take the venison from the oven, slice and then pour over the red wine and chocolate sauce.
I served this with roasted brussels sprouts and mashed potatoes. This is definitely good with mash and green vegetables.
I have been posting a lot of recipes for rabbit and venison, and there is a good reason for that. I live on an island that has beautiful sandy habitats called Machair on the west, facing the sea, and heather-covered hills to the east. The Uist islands are one of the few places left where the machair is still managed.
The rabbits have invaded the machair, and are eroding the dunes, and deer numbers are out of control, spreading ticks and with them Lyme disease as well as damaging native ecosystems. Wild greylag geese crop the machair lands very close, pulling up vegetation by the roots and fouling the grasslands.
The existence of the machair, and the biodiversity that it supports, depends on low level agriculture. This includes controlling the species that are present, wild and otherwise. Rabbits, geese and deer need to be controlled to keep the dunes safe, the grasslands in good condition, and conserving some of the more fragile aspects of our environment. By researching tasty recipes and passing them on, I am supporting local diversity.
This is a basic venison casserole that could be made with meat from the shoulder, or other cut suitable for stewing. It is very simple and tasty. You could vary the vegetables a little to your taste. I have posted a similar recipe in the past, I think, but with a few more exotic ingredients.
- 700 to 900g venison, in 2cm cubes, trimmed of potential elastic bits
- 2 tbsp plan flour, seasoned with salt and pepper
- 2 tbsp rapeseed oil
- 2 onions, chopped
- 2 sticks of celery, chopped
- 4 carrots, peeled and diced
- 1 neep/turnip/swede, peeled and diced
- 200g smoked pancetta or bacon
- 1 bunch of parsley, finely chopped
- 1 tsp dried marjoram
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 300ml stock
- 300ml dark ale
- salt and pepper to taste.
- Set the oven to 150C. Prepare the meat and vegetables. Dip the cubes of venison into the seasoned flour.
- Heat the oil in a large casserole dish and brown the venison in stages, so it cooks in a single layer and browns easily. Put this in a dish for adding back to the casserole later.
- Fry the onion, celery and carrot together with the bacon until the onion is beginning to brown.
- Add the herbs, and stock, bring to a boil and add the ale. Bring back to the boil and add the meat and neeps. Adjust the seasoning at this point.
- Cook for 2 1/2 hours at 150C. You can cook it for a couple of hours and then set aside for reheating and a final half hour of cooking the next night.
We ate this with mashed potatoes and brussels sprouts.
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.
- 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
- 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.
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.
- 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
- 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.
I made this to go with some delicious loin of venison given to us by a friend. I cooked the venison hot and fast, so that it was tender and medium-rare, and served it with mashed potato mixed with fried spring onions, spinach and tender-stem broccoli. This is a traditional sauce, which sounds unlikely, but works really well with venison, hot or cold.
- 1 lemon
- 1 orange
- 4 large tbsp recurrent jelly, or a mixture of red-current and rowanberry jelly
- 4 tbsp port
- 1 heaped tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp grated ginger
- 1 tsp cornflour
- Pare the lemon and orange with a potato peeler, and simmer in hot water for 3 minutes or so, and drain.
- In a small pan, melt the jelly into the port, and then whisk in the mustard, the juice of the orange, and the juice of half the lemon, then add the ginger and the rind. Add the cornflour and simmer for ten minutes.
- We left the sauce to reach room temperature, and strained it before serving with the meat.
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.
- 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
- 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.
You could make this into a pie, a stew, or a steamed pudding. I added dumplings, rather than going out to buy potatoes. The venison came from Storas Uibhist. You can get this locally by visiting Eat Drink Hebrides.
For the stew:
- 500g venison, cubed
- 1 large onion
- 1 small celeriac
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp dried marjoram
- 1 bayleaf
- 1 tbsp cornflour
- 150ml guiness
- 100ml stock
- salt and pepper
For the dumplings:
- 125g self-raising flour
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 50g shredded suet
- 1/2 tsp mixed herbs
- 3-4 tbsp cold water
- Chop the onion finely, peel and dice the celeriac. Heat the oil in a heavy casserole pan and fry the vegetables until they are just beginning to brown.
- Add the herbs and the meat, and fry until the meat is browned.
- Sprinkle in the cornflour, stir, and then slowly add the Guinness and stock. Bring to a simmer, and then season with salt and pepper, to taste.
- Put the lid on the casserole dish and put it in the oven at 140C for an hour and a half – then add the dumplings.
- Make the dumplings so that you can add them to the stew for the final cooking time.
- Mix the flour, salt, herbs and suet in a bowl and then add the water to make a soft dough. Turn out onto a floured surface, and cut into 8 bits. Roll each dumpling into a ball, coating with a little flour.
- Drop the dumplings into the stew, and return to the oven at 200C for a further 20 minutes.
If you are going to make the stew into a pudding, make a suet pastry using 110g self-raising flour, 110g fresh white breadcrumbs, 110g suet, a pinch of salt and approx 140ml cold water. Line a greased pudding bowl with 3/4 of the pastry, fill with the stew, cap with the rest of the pastry, and steam for 2 hours.