My friend Emma doesn’t share my love of lovely fluffy deer, aka Bambis. That’s cos Emma is a woodland specialist and the little dears chomp through trees like knives through butter. Ergo Emma has become expert at making them into delicious stew.
This is a very simple, yet super-tasty recipe that is a real winter-warmer.
The hardest part will be sourcing the venison – most of the bigger supermarkets have it these days, but watch that it doesn’t come from New Zealand! We can do without those air-miles – there are plenty of places much closer to home. Try a farmers’ market, a farm shop or asking your local butcher.
The cut of meat isn’t very important because it is slow-cooked for hours, so stewing-steak is just fine. The quantities are very approximate – a la Jamie Oliver – add what looks good. If you double up the quantity, or if this is too much for you, this stew freezes well, and tastes even better on a second outing!
Finely chop the onion, celery and carrot, and put in a large casserole dish (with a lid).
Dice the venison into cubes, and brown off on a griddle or hot frying pan. Cook in small batches, and keep on the heat just until they have browned. Add to the casserole dish with the vegetables.
Add the liquid to the casserole dish. The wine and stock should more-or-less cover the food (the celery gives a lot though, so don’t worry if it doesn’t quite. Worth keeping some stock on hand during cooking though, if it looks like it isn’t covered). Also add the blackberry jelly, and pepper. Be careful with the salt if you’ve used a stock cube, they can contain quite a bit.
Cover with lid and place in pre-heated oven to 150 C. Cook for at least three hours. Tip: you can cook it for longer than this if you want. If you are going out, check the liquid levels are topped up and turn down to 110.
Add the cornflour, and check for salt, in the last hour of cooking. To check that it is cooked, prod a cube of meat. It should be falling apart, or almost.
Serve with mashed potatoes, or mash in some sweet potatoes for a bit of a twist, and green vegetables of your choice.
Don’t watch Bambi.
Emma didn’t say that last bit.
Venison is a good source of the amino acid tryptophan, a natural mood and hormone regulator. Getting enough tryptophan helps promote good sleep and can also help to prevent headaches.
As with all red meats venison is a great source of bioavailable iron.
The stew also provides fibre, vitamins and minerals with onions, celery and carrots; onions being a great way of controlling blood sugar and protecting us from inflammation and free-radical damage.
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If you like venison it can be substituted for beef in most recipes.
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