This is a rich and warming casserole for a cold winter’s day. Venison is lower in fat than other red meats, so is a great option, but you could also use lean braising beef or lamb.
Celeriac puree makes a nice change from mash, is lower in calories and has a sweetness which is delicious with rich, gamey meats. Don’t forget to serve with a large pile of green vegetables.
- 12 shallots
- 1 tbsp sunflower oil
- 1 kg diced venison
- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 large sprig thyme
- 1 sprig parsley
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 tsp juniper berries, crushed
- 1 tbsp whole grain mustard
- 1 tbsp tomato puree
- 300ml red wine
- 300ml beef or chicken stock
- 6 carrots (about 250g) peeled and thickly sliced
- 4 sticks celery (about 150g) thickly sliced
- 1 tbsp redcurrant jelly or 1 tbsp sloe gin
- 2 tsp arrowroot
- Freshly chopped parsley to garnish
- Peel the shallots by putting in a bowl and covering with just boiled water. Leave to stand for 5 minutes, drain and when they are cool enough to handle, trim off a small bit of root and peel off the skin.
- Heat the oil in a flame proof casserole. Fry the shallots over a high heat for a few minutes, shaking regularly until they are starting to brown all over. Remove the shallots from the casserole and put to one side. You should find that most of the oil remains the casserole.
- Season the venison with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add to the casserole dish and fry briefly until brown all over. Tie the thyme, parsley and bay into a bouquet garni with some string. Add these to the casserole along with the garlic, mustard, tomato puree, red wine and stock.
- Bring the casserole to a boil, then cover with a lid. Transfer the casserole to the oven and cook for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and add the carrots, celery, shallots, sloe gin or redcurrant jelly. Return to the oven for a further hour and a half or until the meat and vegetables are tender.
- Put the casserole on a low heat. Mix the arrowroot with a little water, then when you have a smooth paste add this to the casserole. Stir until the casserole has thickened. The gravy should be rich and glossy.
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