Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Slow venison stew

There was some nice dark red tasty looking venison for sale in Stewart and Co. on Saturday afternoon which we took home and looked for something interesting to make with it. The idea of a daube came from 'Elizabeth David Classic's', one of my favourite cookery books...

This recipe is a type of daube with venison. A daube is a classic French stew made with beef, that is slow cooked with wine and vegetables and is often flavoured with duck fat, vinegar, brandy, lavender, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, juniper berries, or orange peel. They used to be left cooking on the hearth for the whole day and are often better made the day before. This is my venison version.

The venison should be in stew sized type pieces, about 500g for 2 people. Toss the venison in some flour seasoned with a pinch of salt and pepper. Then brown it off in a hot pan with some olive oil, you might have to do it a few bits at a time. If you add too many it will start to stew in the juices of the meat rather than brown nicely. When it is browned all over put it into a large casserole dish.

Chop about 100g of smoked bacon, about 4 slices into small pieces and fry these off in the venison pan until brown. Add them to your venison in the casserole dish. Finally slice an onion into thin rounds, or a couple of tiny onions, which is what I used. Fry these in the same pan again, you might have to add a bit more oil, until it is soft and golden, about 5 minutes. Transfer it to the casserole also when it is done.

Keep the pan on high that you have been cooking everything in and add about a glass of red white to de glaze it. You want to scrape up all of the flavour and bits that have stuck to the pan and mix them up into the wine as it bubbles away furiously. Pour this into the casserole after a few minutes.

Put the casserole dish onto a low heat and mix up the venison, bacon, onions and wine, and add more wine again, I think I ended up putting over half a bottle in, you can use anything you have left over. I collect anything that doesn’t get drank, or has been left a little bit too long to enjoy...

Add to this a sliced carrot, some thyme, a bay leaf, some juniper berries, a sliced clove of garlic and a large piece of orange peel. Leave it to simmer, with a lid on, for a couple of hours, longer if you can. Keep it on low and give it a stir every now and again.

When it is done the flavours are really lovely, the carrots tasted so much of orange, with rich red wine gravy that still tastes of delicate herbs, the venison was soft and falling apart with smoky bacon and soft onions. I served some creamy mashed potato on the side to mix into the rich sauce. It's not very photogenic but tastes delicious...

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Happy cooking! Let me know if you make any of my recipes, send a picture, and let me know any of your own recipes and tips! Anna x