Braised Venison with Carrots

carrotsBy Mark Hix, gametoeat.co.uk

Serves 4

Ingredients:

1.5kg trimmed venison meat, from a single muscle
750ml good red wine
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1 teaspoon thyme leaves, chopped
1 bay leaf
3 juniper berries, crushed
3 tablespoons plain flour
salt and freshly ground black pepper
vegetable oil for frying
60g butter
2 onions, peeled and finely chopped
2 tablespoons tomato purée
1a litres good dark beef stock
1–2 teaspoons cornflour (optional)
For the carrots:
200–250g small carrots, such as chantenay, peeled
a couple of good knobs of butter
1 teaspoon caster sugar
1 tablespoon chopped parsley

Method

  • Cut the venison into 3–4cm chunks and place in a stainless steel or ceramic bowl with the red wine, garlic, thyme, bay leaf and juniper berries. Cover and leave to marinate in the fridge for 2 days.
  • Drain the meat in a colander, reserving the marinade, and dry the pieces on some kitchen paper. Flour the meat lightly, using a tablespoon of the flour, and season with salt and pepper.
  • Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a heavy-based frying pan and fry the meat, a few pieces at a time, over a high heat until nicely browned.
  • Heat the butter in a large, heavy-based saucepan and gently fry the onions for a few minutes until soft. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons flour and the tomato purée, and stir over a low heat for a minute.
  • Slowly add the reserved marinade, stirring constantly to avoid lumps forming. Bring to the boil and simmer until it has reduced by half.
  • Add the beef stock and the pieces of venison and bring back to a simmer. Cover with a lid and simmer very gently over a low heat for about 1 ½ hours until the meat is tender.
  • It’s difficult to put an exact time on braising meat; you may find it needs an extra half an hour. Once the meat is cooked, the sauce should have thickened sufficiently. If not, mix 1–2 teaspoons cornflour with a little cold water, stir into the sauce and simmer, stirring, for a few minutes.
  • Meanwhile, put the carrots in a pan and just cover with water.
  • Add the butter, sugar and seasoning and simmer rapidly until the carrots are tender. Drain off any excess cooking liquid, leaving a little to glaze them, then toss with the chopped parsley.
  • Divide the stew among warm bowls and top with the glazed carrots. Serve at once.
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