British Venison is a healthier alternative to beef, is in season through the colder months of the year and buying wild venison is a great way to support sustainable woodland development. We buy venison from the Spains Hall Estate which you can view here.
So what’s the difference between venison and beef? It’s all to do with the way the animals are raised – beef cattle are farmed, whereas venison is wild game. Venison is lower in saturated fat than other red meats, a great source of haem iron, packed with zinc and B vitamins.
This is a classic bourguignon recipe but it’s a good one, super reliable and very quick and easy. You can make it gluten free by using gluten free plain flour. We didn’t make dumplings with this as we did crispy potatoes but of course you could include some for a real feast!
I N G R E D I E N T S
400g shallots, peeled but left whole
800g diced stewing venison
5 cloves garlic, peeled and grated or finely chopped
250g mushrooms, cut in half (or whole button ones are good too)
1 tbsp plain flour (use GF if required)
1/2 bottle red wine
500g beef stock
3 or 4 large sprigs of rosemary
5 large bay leaves
1 tbsp redcurrant jelly
Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
M E T H O D
1. Pre-heat the oven to 160C static, 140C fan. Bring the venison out of the fridge so it comes up to room temperature, put in a bowl and season with salt and pepper. In a large heavy cast iron or similar pan (we used a Staub oval cast iron cocotte) add a good few glugs of olive oil and add the shallots and bacon, then sauté until lightly browned. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and place on a plate and then add the venison and sauté until browned on all sides.
2. Next add the shallots and bacon back in and stir in the garlic. Add the flour and quickly stir to combine – keep the heat low-med so the flour doesn’t burn but once everything is coated, turn the heat up and add about 1/4 bottle red wine – combine and be sure to scrap around the pan, then add the rest of the wine and the beef stock. Bring up to a rolling simmer and season with salt and pepper.
3. Turn off the heat and stir in the redcurrant jelly, add the bay leaves and rosemary sprigs. Put the lid on and place in the oven for 3 -4 hours.
4. Towards the end of the cooking time, fry off the mushrooms in a little olive oil to crisp up and add to the pot.
5. After the cooking time you can serve immediately – when you test the seasoning you might like to a little more redcurrant jelly as it gives a nice depth. But as you probably already know when it comes to stewing, for the very best flavour allow the pot to cool to room temperature, cover and refrigerate overnight. Re-heat gently over medium-low heat, and serve the next day.
We served with crispy roasted potatoes and onions and steamed cavolo nero and spinach.