Rabbit and chorizo stew

If you need a tasty dish for rabbit, look no further. I found it useful to have a mouli for the sauce. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 tbsp olive oil for frying
  • Approx 200g raw chorizo sausages
  • 1 rabbit, jointed
  • 200g cherry tomatoes, or home grown tomatoes
  • 4 colves of garlic
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika, 1/2 tsp hot paprika
  • 2 pointed red peppers, halved and grilled to char the skin
  • 200 ml light stock (chicken, vegetable or rabbit)
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

METHOD:

  • In a large frying pan with a lid, heat the olive oil to a low/moderate heat. Fry the chorizo until the fat runs. Remove it from the pan, and set aside.
  • Season the rabbit with salt and pepper, and fry until browned on all sides, around 5 minutes
  • Put the tomatoes, garlic and paprika in a blender and blitz. Then put the mixture through a mouli to get rid of any seeds. 
  • Add the tomato sauce to the rabbit in the pan, bring to a simmer, and reduce the sauce over a low heat for around 15 minutes. 
  • Remove the charred skin from the peppers, chop them roughly, and add them to the pan, along with the chorizo and stock, and bring back to a simmer.
  • Cover the pan and cook slowly for around an hour, until the rabbit is falling from the bone. Strip the meat from the bones, and put it back into the stew. 
  • Just before serving, mix the parsley, lemon and olive oil and drizzle over the stew. 

I’m not sure what you are meant to serve this with, we had potatoes. 

Rabbit with aubergines

I have been given some fresh local tender rabbits to cook, and I’m very excited. I don’t have many go-to recipes for rabbit, so I am trying some out. I’m hoping to get more and try out a Spanish recipe that uses chorizo. This time I went with an Italian vibe.

INGREDIENTS:

  •  1 rabbit, cut into five (2 front legs, 2 back legs, one saddle)
  • 30g butter
  • 30g pancetta or diced streaky bacon
  • 1 stick of celery, finely chopped
  • 1/2 can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 clove of garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp dried marjoram, or a handful of fresh marjoram
  • Salt and pepper
  • A glass of dry sherry, or Marsala wine
  • Water or stock
  • A small aubergine, cut into 2cm cubes, set in a colander and salted
  • One red sweet pepper, or a pimento for preference, sliced into strips

METHOD:

  • Heat the butter in the bottom of a braising pan or shallow casserole dish. Fry the bacon and the celery together.
  • As the fat starts to run from the bacon, add the rabbit to the pan and turn the pieces over to let them brown. 
  • Add the tomatoes, chopped garlic, marjoram and salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer, before adding the Marsala. Bring back to a simmer and reduce by half. 
  • Add water or stock so that the rabbit is just about covered, put the lid on the pan and simmer for around half an hour.
  • Rinse the salted aubergine, and add to the top of the pan. Continue to cook for another 20 minutes, and then add the sliced red pepper. Cook for another ten minutes. 

We served this with potatoes, because we have a lot of them. I would think that polenta would be an excellent accompaniment. 

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. 

Nettle soup with blue cheese

I finally found a nettle soup recipe that I really like. This needs to be made in early spring, when the nettles are small and soft. Pick the nettle tops wearing washing up gloves and push them into a measuring jug until you have around 400ml. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 400ml nettle tops
  • 40g plain flour
  • 80g blue cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp butter

METHOD:

  • Wash and chop the nettle tops finely
  • In a large pan, bring 1 litre of water to the boil, and add the nettle tops and flour. Cook and whisk together for around 10 minutes. I like to use my soup blender.
  • Add blue cheese and simmer until it has melted into the soup, and then season with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat
  • In a small bowl, whisk the egg, add a couple of spoonfuls of the soup and mix together well. Pour the egg mixture back into the soup gradually, stirring as you go. 
  • In a small pan, melt the butter gently and cook until the milk solids in the butter start to turn brown. 
  • Serve the soup with the butter drizzled over the top. 

 

Salad of flowers

This looks so beautiful, adding flowers to salad, and the extra flavour that they bring just lifts the whole thing. I usually make a basic Greek-style salad and layer the flowers on top. The ingredients depend on what is available. I add the ingredients in layers, only mixing together when serving. 

INGREDIENTS: 

  • Lettuce
  • Cucumber 
  • Spring onions
  • Chopped tomato
  • Black olives
  • Crumbled feta cheese 
  • Flowers – borage, nasturtium, chives, violas, dill, rocket, rose, rocket, stocks, pinks, kale, chamomile, marigold, dandelion
Salad of flowers

Venison and Guinness …

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. 

INGREDIENTS:

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

METHOD:

  • 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. 

Venison Curry

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. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1kg venison, diced into 1 inch cubes
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 2cm of ginger root, grated
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cans of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsp kashmir chilli powder, or 1 tbsp ordinary chilli powder
  • 2 tbsp ground coriander
  • 2 tbsp ground turmeric
  • 2 tbsp crushed juniper seeds
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 2 tsp molasses sugar or other brown sugar or treacle
  • 2 green chillies, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp chopped coriander leaves
  • greek-style thick plain yoghurt
  • 500ml stock (I used the lemon gravy)

METHOD:

  • Heat the oil in a large heavy casserole dish, and fry the chopped onions over a medium heat. 
  • After around 5 minutes, add the crushed garlic, grated ginger and chopped chillies. 
  • When the onions are browning, add the venison, and stir in to cook and brown the meat.
  • Add the spices and cook for a few more minutes, stirring them in well. 
  • Add the tinned tomatoes and stock, and bring the mixture to a simmer. 
  • Cook over a low heat on the hob or in the oven for 1 1/2 hours, or until the meat is tender. If you are using left-overs, half an hour should be enough. 

To serve, stir in two tablespoons of yoghurt, and garnish with the chopped coriander. Serve with nan bread or rice, and with a side-dish of yoghurt. 

Bramble cocktail

I keep thinking it would be nice to have a cocktail each weekend, try out a new recipe. It has taken me quite a long time to get round to it. I had some blackberries in the freezer, picked last autumn, so I made this.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 blackberries
  • 1 level teaspoon of caster sugar
  • juice of half a lime
  • 1 1/2 floz gin
  • 1/2 floz creme de mure (blackberry liqueur)
  • Soda water (or any carbonated water e.g. from the sodastream, to avoid plastic)

METHOD:

  • In the bottom of a tall glass, mix the sugar and lime juice and add the blackberries
  • Fill the glass with ice, and add the gin and creme de mure.
  • Top up with soda water, and stir. Garnish with a slice of lime.

I have some Tanqueray gin flavoured with lime, so I might try that next time.

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.

Goose Bhuna

This recipe was inspired by seeing a bhuna recipe on ‘grubworm’ but when I went to download it, we had an IT failure, so I used a similar bhuna recipe from a book. The flavour is fantastic. The main feature of a bhuna is that the sauce is cooked right down to a sticky paste that adheres to the meat.

Seasoned Pioneers can supply just about any spice or herb that you can’t source locally.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 4 tsp coriander seeds
  • 2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 2 dried chillies
  • 2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 2 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 4cm ginger root, grated
  • 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 can of chopped tomatoes
  • 15 curry leaves
  • 4 goose breasts, cut into thin strips
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 250ml water
  • a pinch of garam masala
  • freshly chopped coriander leaf to garnish.

METHOD:

  • Toast the spices in a small pan for a minute or two, until the mustard seeds start to pop. Take off the heat, cool, and grind in a pestle and mortar with the salt.
  • Put the onion, ginger and garlic in a food processer and blend until the onion is in small chips.
  • Fry the chopped onion mixture in a little vegetable oil, until the onion is starting to brown.
  • Add the tomatoes and curry leaves, and cook until the sauce starts to thicken.
  • Add the ground spices, keep stirring, and after five minutes, add the water, and bring back to a simmer.
  • Put a lid on the pan and simmer on a very low heat until the sauce is really thick. This can take quite a while, an hour or so.
  • Meanwhile, around 10 minutes before serving, fry the goose in a very hot pan for around 5 minutes, and then add to the thickened sauce, stir and reduce the sauce further.
  • Sprinkle with garam masala and garnish with the chopped coriander.

Serve with plain rice, and a glass of cold beer. The flavour from the freshly roasted spices is amazing.