Basic Venison Casserole (serves 4, preparation time 20 minutes, cooking time 1.5-2 hours)
Large knob of butter;
Tablespoon of olive oil;
Two medium-sized red onions;
Two cloves of garlic, crushed;
500g of Venison, cubed;
Two medium sized carrots;
500ml of red wine (from a carton);
300ml of vegetable stock (Marigold Vegetable Bouillon Powder);
Tablespoon of redcurrant jelly (or cranberry sauce);
10 g of 100% cacoa finely grated (I use Willie’s Supreme Cacoa - Peruvian Black);
Four sprigs of rosemary;
Eight large sprigs of thyme;
Salt (Maldon coarse); and,
Pepper (black peppercorns).
New potatoes (you don’t have to follow this part of the recipe, you can serve any type of potato, I just do it this way to cut down on energy usage and washing up); and, cornflour may also be needed.
Whichever vegetable you want to serve. Something like broccoli, mange tout or spiced red cabbage, depending on what is in season.
Here’s what you do:
Step 1 - Preheat the oven to 150 degrees
Step 2 - Cut your onions in half. Thinly slice them so that you end up with semi-circular slices of onion.
Step 3 - Put the butter and oil into a large frying pan and when hot, add the sliced onions.
Step 4 - When the onions are soft, but not browned (takes about five minutes on a low to medium heat), add the garlic and fry for a further minute. Ensure that the garlic does not burn, or the bitter taste will be apparent in the casserole.
Step 5 - Place the onions and garlic into an ovenproof casserole pot and put the lid on it.
Step 6 - Put the frying pan back on the hob and if needed add a little extra oil. Add the venison and turn the cubes so that they brown on all sides. This should take about three minutes.
Step 7 - Add the browned venison cubes into the casserole pot and once again return the frying pan to the cooker ring.
Step 8 - Pour the red wine into the frying pan and cook off the alcohol. This generally takes a couple of minutes and you will notice a change in smell when the alcohol has been cooked out. At this point add the vegetable stock, redcurrant jelly, grated chocolate and seasoning to taste. This mixture should then be allowed to simmer gently for five minutes.
Step 9 - While the sauce is simmering, peel the carrots and slice down them to create quarters. The lengths of carrots should then be chopped to about 4 mm. This will allow the carrots to keep their shape throughout the cooking process and not disintegrate. The carrots can then be added to the casserole dish with the rosemary and thyme sprigs.
Step 10 - Pour the sauce into the casserole dish and ensure that all of the contents are well covered. If need be, you can add a little more hot water or wine. Put the lid on the dish and place in the centre of the preheated oven.
That gives you the basic recipe, but here are some extra tips should you need them:
Option 1 - If after the 1.5 - 2 hours cooking time, you want a thicker casserole sauce, simply mix two teaspoons of cornflour with 25 ml of cold water and add to the casserole. After a further 15 minutes of cooking, the sauce should have thickened up.
Option 2 - Half an hour before the end of the cooking time, add in enough new potatoes (halved so that they have time to cook through properly) for the number of people that you are serving. This cuts down on the number of pots that you have to use for this recipe and means that you can be away from the kitchen, and doing other things.
Kitchen implements required:
Large frying pan