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.

Fillet of Beef with Whisky & Grain Mustard Cream Sauce

Steak in Whisky Cream Sauce Ingredients (to serve 8)

Fillet of Beef
1 tablesp. olive oil & a knob of butter
4-6 banana shallots
6 tablesp. whole grain mustard
20g brown sugar
Approx 600 ml double cream

1. First make the cream sauce:  Heat the butter and oil in a heavy based frying pan and add the shallots, stirring occasionally until just lightly golden.

2.  Add the whisky, bring to the boil and cook briskly until reduced to about two-thirds.

3.  Add in the grain mustard, brown sugar and double cream. Simmer the whisky sauce until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.  Season with salt and pepper and set aside until required.

4.  Drizzle a little olive oil over the fillet of beef and season with salt and pepper.  Roast in a pre-heated oven at 200 degrees C for approximately 25 minutes.  The fillets needs to reach a temperature of 63-65 degrees C for medium rare, 70 degrees for med and approx 75-77 degrees C for well done (I used a probe to check).  Leave to rest for approximately 10 mins and then slice into thick steaks.

5.  Reheat the cream sauce and drizzle over and/or around the steaks.

Gourmet Beefburgers (Rita’s Recipe)

Ingredients for 6-8 Beefburgers (depending on the thickness of your burgers)

1 kg lean beef mince
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1 lg onion, chopped finely
2 tsp tomato ketchup
2 tsp mustard
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 red chilli, finely chopped

1.  Lightly sautee the onions and garlic until translucent but not coloured.  Leave to cool.

2. In a large bowl mix together the mince, onions, garlic, tomato ketchup, mustard, egg, and chilli.

3. Dive in with your hands and mix until the ingredients are well blended. Either shape into patties or to get each the same size, push into ring moulds approximately 9 cm in diameter.  I like to make my burgers quite thick as they shrink in cooking, but if you want to extend to 8 then make them a little thinner.

4. Get a griddle pan and heat on a high heat.  Slide a little olive oil on each side of the burgers with your fingertips or a pastry brush and then making sure the pan is really hot, griddle for a minute or two on each side to get a good colour.

5. Finish off in a medium hot oven (200 degrees C or Mk 6) for about 10-15 minutes (depending on thickness).

6. Serve with brioche buns (I got mine from Ocado – much better than Waitrose or Heston’s) and some salads.

A Taste of Fire – Supper Club, Saturday 1st August 2015

Fabulous dining guests lingered around the wrought iron table set for our BBQ meal on Saturday’s “A Taste of Fire” Supper Club event, which was held at a venue in Wraysbury.  This was my sixth meet up since starting the Supper Club and some of my diners were already old friends – regulars who had already attended more than one of the Supper Clubs that have been going now since February of this year.

IMG_1659The menu:

Spicy Rum RibsSticky Chicken Wings  | Gourmet Beefburgers in Brioche Buns

Sides:  Tomato Salsa |  Broad Bean, Pea & Beetroot Salad | Tomato Salad | Green Salad | Mediterranean Potato Salad | Guacamole | Cheese & Pancetta Bread | Sundried Tomato & Basil Bread | Moroccan Zatar Bread

Dessert:  Tropical Fruit Salad in a Rum Sugar Syrup served with Chantilly Cream.

The evening kicked off with a Raspberry Summer Punch, which wasIMG_1654 enthusiastically received by all –  a mix of wine, cranberry juice, raspberries, mint & lemonade over ice.

As I was cooking for 10, I decided it might be prudent to cook or part-cook some of the meat in the oven, to receive a final kiss on the BBQ griddle bars, before being served with an array of sides and home made breads, the most popular of which was the cheese and pancetta bread pictured above.

I was particularly pleased with my home made gourmet burgers, to which I added to the leanest beef mince I could get, some sautéed onions, garlic, chillies, tomato ketchup and Dijon mustard.  These delicious beef patties were sandwiched between soft, sweet brioche buns (the only food that wasn’t home made – unfortunately, I had no time) and I chose to squeeze some guacamole inside of my own, which made it even more unctuous !

There was plenty of food to accommodate second helpings …. and even some left over for a quick, light lunch on Sunday!