‘Blast From the Past’ Recipe

Spiced Venison Stew (Serve 6)

I just had to share this recipe again! I first shared it in January of this year, so relatively recently, but it’s so good that now we’re in the ‘season of stews’ I felt it deserved another mention – don’t overlook this recipe! It’s the perfect choice when entertaining for a crowd over the Christmas season. The recipe uses the idea of mulled wine and its spices to create a wonderfully warming stew which has a subtle spicy ‘kick’. It’s from Rosie Birkett’s cookbook, ‘The Joyful Cook’, which I thoroughly recommend! You could substitute the venison for beef shin, however venison’s rich flavour works particularly well with the robust spices in this stew. The amount of chilli paste depends on the make of paste you use and your taste buds, it is a matter of trial and error. I use ‘Gran Luchito’ chipotle chilli paste which can be found in supermarkets or online, I start with about ½ tablespoon and add more towards the end of cooking depending on my mood.

1kg venison shoulder cut into 2-3cm chunks (or you could use beef shin)

4 tablespoons plain flour (gluten-free if required)

1½ tablespoons olive oil

100g smoked pancetta lardons

1 onion, finely chopped

2 celery sticks, strings removed and sticks finely chopped

1 large carrot, finely chopped

1 bay leaf

2 sprigs of thyme

2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, chopped, plus extra to garnish

1 cinnamon stick

Pinch cumin seeds

1 star anise

½ -1 tablespoon chilli paste (see note above)

1 tablespoon tomato purée

400ml spicy red wine (Malbec or similar)

½ orange, juiced and zest grated

250ml beef stock

Sea salt and black pepper

For the pink pickled onions:

1 small red onion, thinly sliced

3 black peppercorns

1 clove

1 teaspoon caster sugar

½ teaspoon salt

4 tablespoons cider vinegar

  1. Dry the chunks of venison well with kitchen roll, then season the flour with salt and pepper and roll the meat in it.
  2. Heat the oil in a large casserole dish over a medium-high heat, add the pancetta and fry for 4-5minutes, until they are lightly coloured and starting to caramelise. Transfer to a plate with a slotted spoon and set aside. Now, working in batches brown the venison in the fat for a few minutes on each side. Add the brown meat to the pancetta.
  3. Add the vegetables, bay leaf, herbs, spices and chilli paste to the casserole dish. Stir well and cook over a low-medium heat for 10-15 minutes, adding a little extra oil if needed. Now stir in the tomato purée and cook for a minute then pour over the red wine and orange juice and add the zest, turn up the heat, stirring well to release any bits stuck to the bottom.
  4. Return the venison and pancetta to the casserole. Add the beef stock and bring to the boil. Cover with a lid and place in a preheated oven, 180’c fan, for 1½-2 hours, until the venison is meltingly tender and the sauce thick and rich. Taste for seasoning and adjust accordingly, adding more chilli paste if you like.
  5. Meanwhile make the pink pickled onions. Place the onion slices in a heatproof bowl, cover with boiling water and leave for 1 minute. Drain off the water, then add the spices, sugar, salt and cider vinegar to the bowl and stir to combine. When you are ready to serve, drain on some kitchen paper to get rid of the brine.
  6. Serve the venison topped with the pink pickled onions and some chopped parsley. This is great with my ‘Favourite Mashed Potato’ (recipe here).

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