So a while ago I made this amazing stew and a friend asked me how I made it. So this blog is for you my darling girl Kimmy.
I took the recipe off Tommi Miers from the series The Wild Gourmets on ABC.
The series followed Tommi and her partner Guy from the South Coast of the UK to the North Coast of Scotland in which Guy hunted/gathered food and Tommi made delicious meals from their spoils. The premise was they couldn't buy anything so they had to harvest, hunt and slaughter or trade past goods for all their meals- not for the faint hearted but I highly recommend the book!
I did do a few things differently as had sent myself the recipe to my iPhone but not the process! Also I struggled to find venison (I would highly recommend talking to your butcher at least a week in advance- not night before!) and only managed to get an osso bucco cut- which is really expensive! I was serving 7 so I had 14 pieces in all- 2 each. I also cooked for about 4-5 hours as I cooked really low and slow- in my oven that means 150. I also recommend so you don't burn or dry out the top that you get backing paper and cut it out in a shape to fit your dish and push down so that it sits directly on top of the stew. Also so that it does not catch on the bottom once you have browned the meat and softened the veggies make sure you deglase the pan with some of the wine to get off anything that has stuck on the bottom.
I also changed a few things for presentation. For carrots I used whole baby carrots enough for two little ones per person and didn't dice them, I added whole shallots so that each person got a caramelised whole onion- so tasty!
I would also highly recommend serving with a firm bread (I used a nice fresh sourdough) or on a bed of sweet potato mash or if really decadent do both!
I would serve on a really nice heavy plate to give it that substantial feel... loving at the moment from Ikea the Dinera which has the beautiful rustic handmade feel to it. Also has a nice lip on the plate to catch all those amazing juices! For 6piece setting of bowl, plate and side plate it is only $29.99 bargain!
I would also look at getting a really nice wooden chopping board to present the bread.
2kg shoulder or haunch of venison
olive oil, for browning
2 medium onions, diced
2 carrots, diced
5 celery stalks, diced
2 parsnips, diced
5 garlic cloves, chopped
2 dried chillies, crumbled
500ml game stock (or stock made from bouillon cubes)
½ bottle full-bodied red wine
100g dark chocolate, finely grated or chopped
1 tablespoon redcurrant jelly
For the marinade
1 bottle full-bodied red wine
4 garlic cloves
1 sprig of rosemary
4–5 sprigs of thyme
2 fresh red chillies, deseeded and finely chopped
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
10 juniper berries, crushed
salt and pepper
How to make:
1. Make sure your fire has lots of hot embers (or preheat an oven to 190°C/gas 5).
2. Cut the venison into 2.5cm cubes, removing large bits of fat or gristle. Put these into a double-layered plastic bag, along with all the marinade ingredients. Set aside for a day in a cool spot in the river (or in the fridge if you have taken your quarry home), turning every so often so that all of the meat comes into contact with the marinade.
3. When you are ready to cook, remove the venison from the marinade, setting the marinade aside for later.
4. Heat a large casserole over a high heat until it is smoking hot. Pour in a tablespoon of olive oil and when it is very hot add the venison cubes, 6 or 7 at a time, so that you are not overcrowding the pan and thus bringing down the temperature of the oil.
5. Brown the meat on all sides for 1–2 minutes, letting the pan get hot again between each batch and adding more oil if necessary.
6. When the meat is all browned, set it aside while you brown the vegetables.
7. Add a tablespoon of oil to the casserole and sweat the onions for 5 minutes before adding the carrots, celery and parsnips. Cook for a further 10 minutes, allowing the vegetables to start caramelising without letting them burn. Add the garlic and cook for another 5 minutes.
8. Return the venison to the casserole, along with the reserved marinade and the rest of the ingredients. Bring up to a gentle simmer, stirring to melt the chocolate into the sauce. Cook in the Dutch oven (or preheated oven) for about 90 minutes or until the meat is tender and falling apart.