Friday, 4 November 2011
Scottish Venison and Root Vegetable Winter Warmer Stew
Venison is a delicious eating meat, provided it is cooked in an appropriate fashion. A very lean meat, venison requires long, slow cooking, if it is not to be served tough and unpalatable and one of the best ways to prepare it in this way is in a hearty, winter warmer of a stew. The venison in this recipe is from Scottish red deer and the quantites make for two large portions.
1/2lb diced venison
2 tbsp flour
3 tbsp olive oil
2 medium onions
2 pints fresh beef stock
2 pints of water
4 small carrots
1 small swede (rutabaga)
Stem only of one leek
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Fresh parsley or other fresh herb to garnish
Put the flour in to a bowl and season. Pour the olive oil in to a large pot and gently heat. Stir the venison pieces briefly in the flour before transferring them to the heated oil. Brown and seal over a low heat. This should take three to four minutes.
Peel the onions, half them and finely slice. Add them to the browned venison and stir for a further couple of minutes.
Pour the beef stock and the water in to the pot. You could use all beef stock but it's not necessary as the liquid will be well reduced to capture the flavours. Bring to a simmer and cook for one and a half hours, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking to the bottom of the pot. Do note that it may at first seem you have an excess of liquid but resist the temptation to reduce the quantity. You will need every drop by the time it has cooked down and the vegetables have later been added.
When the one and a half hours is almost up, it is time to prepare your root vegetables for the stew. Peel the swede/rutabaga and chop it in to one inch chunks. Peel or scrape the carrot and chop it in to similar sized pieces. The leek should be washed and sliced in to quarter inch thick discs.
Add the vegetables to the stewing venison and stir well. The liquid level should be okay at this stage but you are now going to return it to a simmer for a further hour. Stir frequently and top up with a little bit of boiling water if required.
Taste the stew for seasoning, ladle in to bowls, garnish with freshly chopped parsley and serve immediately with some warm, crusty bread.