I’ve been meaning to post this recipe since before Christmas but I kept making it and then eating it all before I remembered to take a photo!
It’s one of those magical dishes which requires minimum preparation (if you can even call chucking all the ingredients into your slow cooker and giving them a quick stir, ‘preparation’) but which, when left for a few hours of gentle heating, transforms into something so special, so truly treatsome (yes, that’s a word!) that it both comforts and revives at the end of a wearisome day.
Imagine yourself outside your front door. It’s dark. It’s freezing. I mean freezing. You’ve been rushed off your feet all day and you think you can feel the first signs of a cold. What’s worse, you can’t find your keys. You’re scrabbling about in your bag but it’s too dark to see anything properly and your hands are so numb you can’t make your fingers work.
After what feels like about an hour of bag scrabbling, you finally find the elusive keys and put them triumphantly into the lock. One quick turn and you’re in.
Suddenly, the cold of the day is behind you. The warmth of your home greets you like the welcoming smile of an old friend and the smell? Well, the smell of tender beef, red wine and rosemary fills your nostrils and drives out the tiredness, the cold and the problems of the day.
All that’s left to do is to grab yourself a bowl and greedily ladle it in. Then settle into your favourite chair and with a big sigh, enjoy….
Try these for size…
While writing last week’s post about what’s coming into season in November, it occurred to me that I had never actually cooked with venison before and that it’s possibly rather hypocritical of me to be suggesting that others do what I haven’t!
So this weekend, I gave it a go. After a week of various family maladies, we were all feeling a bit sorry for ourselves so something warm and comforting was needed.
It’s one thing chucking a recipe together when you’re dealing with ingredients that are familiar favourites but I found it quite daunting putting a recipe together for venison, which I have only tasted a couple of times before and have certainly never cooked with. As so often in life these days, my first port of call was the internet! I browsed all the venison casserole and stew recipes I could find, jotting down those ingredients which seemed sensible to include – those that are a must in any stew, such as onion and those which seemed to appear regularly in the venison recipes, such as juniper. Gin is made from juniper berries, and if you’ve never cooked with them before then take a whiff when you open the jar. It really smells just like your evening G&T!
Ha! That got your attention didn’t it? No, I didn’t decide to spice things up by cooking in the nude. I DID however, turn to one of the forums on Naked Wines (a fab wine club by the way) to ask for advice on what wine would work well with venison in the sauce. The general consensus was Australian Shiraz.
Interesting side note – when you ask foodies about what wine to use in recipes, the advice is always to use the best wine you can – if it’s not good enough to drink, then it’s not good enough to use in your recipe! However, with the ‘winos’ on Naked Wines, the feeling was much more that you should just pick up a cheap bottle at the supermarket and save the good stuff for drinking! 🙂
We tucked into this along with some buttery mash and slightly mineral kale and I must say, it was rich, warm cosiness in a bowl and made Sunday evening seem a little bit less bleak!
1 tbs olive oil
150 g smoked bacon lardons
2 medium onions, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 k diced venison
1 tbs juniper berries, crushed
2 tbs plain flour
1 tsp dried thyme
400 ml red wine
(I used Australian Shiraz, as suggested by my Naked Wines chums)
400 ml beef stock
Zest of an orange
2 tbs honey
2 tbs blackberry jelly
(or any other similar jam or jelly – redcurrant would work well. I actually used some damson jam because it was all I had in the cupboard!)
I can’t bring myself to have this with anything other than mash for ultimate comfort but crusty bread is a close second. If you’re feeling the need to be healthy then rice is fine at a push!
Feel free to substitute the venison with beef – and I think it would be great with steak and kidney too as the kidney and venison have quite a similar taste.
My slow cooker spends most of the year gathering dust in the back of a cupboard, but each year, around October time, I suddenly yearn for the comfort of a slow cooked meal. Nothing beats opening the door to be greeted by the sweet smell of supper wafting from the kitchen after a hard day at work and a cold journey home in the dark.
Lamb shanks are such a rewarding thing to cook. Frankly, it’s hard NOT to make them taste sensational! Just a few simple ingredients added to them and you’ve got yourself a meal fit for a king! This recipe is so good it can’t fail to help restore you at the end of a hard day.
You will need:
4 lamb shanks
1 tbs olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 tsp coriander seeds, roughly crushed
2 tbs flour
400 ml chicken or lamb stock
100 ml sherry
1 tbs honey
2 carrots, chopped
40 g pearl barley
In a word, yes, yes you can. It won’t have quite the same depth of flavour but it’ll still be pretty darn awesome so if you don’t have time for the initial browning in a pan stage then just get all your ingredients together and bung them in before you head out the door.
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If you like this recipe, then please hit like and share it with your friends! Many thanks 🙂