This is the recipe I devised to be made for the Village Valentine cabaret party. Each recipe makes 10 healthy portions so 10 casseroles were made by a selection of the village’s best cooks, and brought to the village hall hot ready to be kept warm in a large warming cabinet. I made red cabbage to go with it (see below) and at the last minute poured 800ml boiling water onto bowls containing 500gm of couscous mixed with 3 teaspoons of Marigold organic stock powder. This worked really well to accompany the juices of the casserole.
1.5 kg (3.5 lbs) casserole venison, cubed
1 tblsp plain flour, to dust
olive oil and butter to brown meat
1 handful dried fungi (shitake, ceps etc), soaked in hot water to cover for 10 minutes
6 small onions , peeled and halved
6 cloves garlic
1 bundle thyme and rosemary, tied
2 bay leaves
6 carrots, sliced thickly
6 stalks celery, chopped
350 ml (1/2 bottle) red wine
4 tsp balsamic vinegar
4 tsp rich soy sauce
8 juniper berries, crushed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
water as necessary
- Heat the oil and butter in a heavy frying pan, dust the venison in the flour and brown quickly in small batches so that it doesn’t start to boil in its own liquid which makes the meat tough. Don’t add salt at this stage as it too toughens the meat.
- Place browned meat in a large wide casserole with the onions, carrots, celery and fungi. Add the garlic, bay leaves, juniper berries and the bundle of herbs. Grind black pepper over. Deglaze the hot frying pan by rinsing it out with the fungi soaking liquid and pour over the ingredients in the casserole.
- Add the liquid ingredients to the casserole. Cook very slowly, either on the stovetop, or in a medium low oven, (175℃) for at least 4 hours or mpre until the meat is really tender. Stir from time to time and make sure that it hasn’t dried up (add a little water if necessary). Add salt and pepper at the end to taste.
- As with most casseroles this benefits from making in advance and reheating – the flavours combine better!