Venison Casserole

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Country of origin: Italy. A rich, red, full meat dish plus a soup starter.

For the dedicated Fair Trade "foodie", this is a "good cook" for a special occasion.

Ingredients

Marinade:
1
FAIRTRADE lemon
2
medium organic carrots
1
large red onion
2 sticks
organic celery
1 bottle
FAIRTRADE Pinot Noir
200 g
ripe brambles
10
FAIRTRADE black peppercorns
10
szechuan peppercorns
5
FAIRTRADE cloves
6
fresh leaves of mint
2
fresh bay leaves
4
cloves garlic
Casserole:
1.5 kg
venison pieces
40 ml
sunflower oil
2
medium cooking onions
1
gammon rasher
5 ml
ground coriander
5 ml
FAIRTRADE ground cinnamon
half
FAIRTRADE grated nutmeg
15 ml
plain flour
200 ml
natural yoghurt
salt and FAIRTRADE black pepper to taste
The soup:
200 ml
FAIRTRADE orange juice
500 g
potatoes
500 ml
water or vegetable stock
5 ml
ground cumin
To Serve:
1 bottle
FAIRTRADE Cabernet Sauvignon
FAIRTRADE
Sources

Method

Preparation

Juice and zest the lemon, discarding pips and pith and add the lemon juice and zest to the bottle of wine in a marinating bowl. Prepare the carrots, red onions, and celery in the usual way and chop fine.

Crush the brambles and add to the bowl.

Crush the garlic and add to the bowl.

Add the peppercorns, mint, and cloves and mix well.

Dice the venison into bite sized pieces and add to the marinade. Leave to stand in the refridgerator overnight or longer.

Cooking

Meats

Prepare the onions in the usual way.

Dice the gamon, removing any unwanted fat.

Separate the meat, the marinade juices, and the marinade vegetables and spices. Reserve the vegetables and the juices, and discard any seeds and the whole spices.

Preheat the oven to gas mark 4 (180 °C; 350 °F).

Using a good, non-stick pan, (or using a heavy bottom pan and a little oil) seal the venison pieces a few at a time, and reserve on a warmed plate. (N.B. The meat has been marinated, so it wont go instantly brown as if fresh cut).

Once the meat is sealed, cook the flour in the juices scraping any brown pieces off the bottom of the pan.

Add about 400ml of the marinating wine to the pan and bring to the boil.

Meanwhile (in a le Creuset pan), using a little sunflower oil, fry the gammon for about 5 minutes, and then add the chopped onion and fry until translucent.

Add the casserole ground spices and stir.

Add the wine juice from the frying pan, and the sealed venison meat.

Add further marinade juice until the meat is nicely covered and bring to the boil.

Place the pan in the pre-heated oven and cook for 90 minutes, check from time to time and top up with marinade juices as necessary.

Add the natural yoghurt and stir and cook for a further 30 minutes.

The soup

Peel and dice the potatoes.

In a large saucepan:

Fry the marinade onions and veg in a little sunflower oil for about 5 minutes and add the ground cumin.

Add the orange juice and stock and bring to the boil.

Add the potatoes. Re-heat and then simmer for 30 minutes until all veggies are well cooked.

Pass the cooked veggies through a food blender and put back into the saucepan with the juices.

Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serve as a starter with dollops of plain yoghurt.

To serve

Serve with Special Roasted Vegetables (well venison is a rare treat).

NB: Special roasted veggies need a hotter oven, so use a second oven if you have one, or put the casserole low down in the hot oven.

Variation

The quantities of liquid and potatoes make a thick soup, for runnier soup reduce the potatoes and increase the stock.

Authentic Italian versions of this would use a Chianti or even a Barolo, but this is a Fair Trade Cook Book, so FAIRTRADE red wine is imperative.

Authentic Italian versions would use juniper berries, but availability in UK makes blackberries (brambles) or other dark juice fruit (e.g. bilberries) appropriate.