Venison Casserole

venison casseroleIngredients (for 4)

900g stewing venison cut into 3-4cm pieces
S&P
2 tablesp. olive oil
2 onions, roughly chopped
2 celery sticks, roughly chopped
2 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped, or crushed
3-4 sprigs thyme

2 bay leaves; 1/2 tablesp. juniper berries, crushed
1 tablesp. plain flour
Juice of 1 orange, grated zest of 1/2 orange
250ml port
150ml beef stock
100g chestnut mushrooms, halved or quartered (depending on size) or oyster mushrooms, torn, or mixture of two
200g cooked and peeled chestnuts

  1.  Preheat the oven to 160 deg.C (Fan 150 deg.C) or Gas Mk 3.  Season the venison with black pepper.  Heat the oil in a deep, flameproof casserole dish that has a lid and brown the venison for 3-4 mins in batches.  Add a little more oil after the first couple of batches if you need to.  Once the meat is browned, set aside.
  2. Add the onions to the pan and soften on a gentle heat for 5 – 10 mins, scraping any bits that may have got stuck to the bottom on the pan.  (These bits really do add flavour to stews, so you want to scrape them off rather than give them the opportunity to burn on the base of the pan.)  If the pan feels a little dry, add a drizzle more oil and a splash of water.
  3. Once the onions have softened, add the carrots, celery, garlic, thyme, bay leaves and crushed juniper berries.  Continue to cook gently for a further 10 mins.
  4. Add the flour, stirring to combine.  After a couple of minutes, add the orange juice and zest, port, stock, mushrooms and some salt and pepper.  Now return the browned venison along with any juices that may have collected in the pan.  Bring to the boil, then cover with a lid and pop in the oven for 1 1/2 hours.
  5. Stir in the chestnuts and return the dish to the oven.  Depending on the venison, the stew will need a further 30 mins – 1 hr to cook through and it is ready when the venison has completely tenderised.
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Supper Club Night – 11th July – A Taste of Summer

And Summer it was!  A warm, balmy night and so we ate ‘al fresco’.  The evening was kicked off with the traditional, quintessential English Summer drink – Pimms – choc full of oranges, lemons, strawberries, cucumber and mint and tumbled over ice, it made for a refreshing start to the meal. The first course was a broad bean and pistachio hummus, served over home made, toasted basil bread and dressed with a little bapistachio hummuslsamic, chopped pistachios and mustard cress. Then followed a succulent confit of salmon, glistening under a dusting of freshly chopped dill and accompanied by some crab and dill crushed new potatoes and a little dressing made from olive oil, a little lime juice and more freshly chopped dill. A generous helping of another traditional English Summer dish – Eton Mess – completed this three course dining event.

Confit of Salmon with Crushed New Potatoes & Crab

Ingredients for 6

About 500ml olive oil
1 garlic clove, peeled and halved
1 thyme sprig
6 x 140g skinned salmon fillets
600g new potatoes (Jersey Royals are good)
1 tbsp chopped chives
2 tsp chopped dill
25g butter
200g white and brown crabmeat
1 bunch watercress, stalks removed, to serve
1 tbsp chopped dill
4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
juice ½ lime

1. First, tip the potatoes into a pan of boiling water, then simmer for 15 mins or until soft. Drain and keep warm. Meanwhile, pour the olive oil into a thick-based pan or roasting tin that will fit the salmon fillets snugly. Add the garlic and thyme, gently heat the oil for a few mins to let the flavours infuse, then turn off the heat.

2. About 20 mins before you want to serve, slip the salmon into the warm oil. Cook on a low heat for 8 mins (or 10 mins if you prefer your fish well cooked), then take off the heat. Leave the salmon in the oil for 5 mins, then remove and drain.

3. Meanwhile, place the cooked potatoes into a mixing bowl and lightly crush with the back of a spoon. Add the herbs, butter and a drizzle of olive oil from the salmon, season and mix well, then fold through the crabmeat. To make the drizzle, whisk the dill, olive oil and lime juice together.

4. On each plate, fill a cook’s ring with the crushed potato mix (if you don’t have a ring, spoon into a neat pile). Remove the ring and lay a salmon fillet next to it. Serve a small handful of watercress alongside, spoon around the drizzle, then serve.

Squid Ink Risotto with Marinated Langoustines

For 4 people:

Ingredients

Marinade:
3 Tablesp. flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
4 Spring onions, finely sliced
tablesp. basil and mint, roughly chopped
2 tabesp. capers, rinsed
6 anchovies
4 tablesp. Olive oil

Risotto:
400g risotto rice
1 litre fish stock
1 onion, finely chopped
1/2 teasp. dried red chilli flakes
125
ml dry white wine
2 sachets squid ink
L
angoustines or prawns, peeled (roughly 4 – 6 per person)

1.  Place all the marinade ingredients into a blender and mix until well blended and finely chopped.  Slowly add the olive oil until you have a thick sauce.  Place the langoustines or prawns in a container or food bag and pour in the marinade.  Mix well and leave in the fridge until needed.

2.  Place the fish stock into a pan and bring to a gentle simmer.

3.  Meanwhile, heat another pan until hot and add the butter. Once the butter has melted, add the onion, garlic and chilli flakes. Cook for a few minutes until softened, but not coloured.

4.   Add the wine and cook until the liquid has reduced by half.

5.  Add the squid ink and stir thoroughly with a wooden spoon to disperse the ink throughout the rice.

6.  Pour in the hot stock, a ladle at a time, and keep stirring until each ladleful is absorbed. Keep adding the stock, stirring as often as possible until the rice is tender, but still with a slight resistance to the bite – this should take about 20-25 minutes.

7.  About 5 minutes before the end of cooking time, heat about a tablesp. olive oil in a sauté pan and fry the marinated langoustines/prawns until they have turned pink and are cooked through (about 5 mins).

8.  To serve, spoon the risotto into the centre of each of individual plate and top with a pile of langoustines/prawns.

 

Baked Sea Bream with Potato, Capers & Tomato

From Georio Locatelli’s ‘Made in Sicily‘, this is the simplest of recipes – great for dinner parties, leaving you free to mingle!  This was the main course for the Sicilian Supper Club Night.  The recipe serves 8 but can easily be halved.

IngredientsIMG_1271

8 medium potatoes thinly sliced (put in a bowl of water until needed to prevent browning)

48 cherry tomatoes, halved

2 tablesp. capers in brine, rinsed

Olive oil and salt & pepper

8 sea bream (cleaned, gutted, de-headed and de-tailed.

250 ml dry white wine

juice of 2 lemons

Chopped parsley & garlic

1.  Preheat oven to 180 degrees Centigrade / Gas 4.

2.  In a bowl, mix together the potatoes, tomatoes, capers, olive oil and seasoning, as if you were tossing a salad.

3.  Put the mixture into a baking tray, season the fish and place on top.  Put into the oven and bake for 5 – 10 minutes (depending on size of bream) then pour the wine over the top and bake for another 15 – 20 minutes.

4.  To serve, place the potato and tomato mixture on the centre of the plate and place the fish on top.  Scatter over the chopped parsley & garlic and finish with a squeeze of lemon juice.