It’s less than three weeks till I get married now, the hen night was a success, the invitations are out, and I am in a quiet period before things start to get really stressful again.

As the leaves are starting to turn and it is starting to get pretty cold and nasty out there it seems the perfect time to get a casserole in the oven. While I love a good old beef casserole, I wanted something a little different, and Venison is one of the mains at our wedding meal.

Venison Casserole

Venison Casserole

~ makes enough for 2.

Total Time: 2 hours

  • 2 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 fresh garlic cloves
  • 2 diced carrots
  • 100g mushrooms, quartered
  • 500g haunch or shoulder of venison, diced
  • 1/3 bottle red wine, or 75ml of port mixed with 75ml of water
  • 200ml water
  • 1 beef stock cube, crumbled
  • 2 tbsp spiced plum jam, or redcurrant jelly
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 sprigs rosemary or thyme
  • 50g cornflour
Preheat the oven to 150oC.

Heat the oil on a low to medium heat in a medium sized cast iron casserole dish (or anything that will both go on the hob and withstand the heat in the oven). Add the onions and cook till transulcent, then add the garlic, carrots and mushrooms.

In a separate frying pan brown the venison – in batches if necessary – when finished add to the casserole.

Add the wine, I don’t tend to drink red wine so I never tend to have it in the house. Instead I keep a bottle of Port for cooking, I don’t buy the cheapest bottle but I certainly don’t buy an expensive one. This means that I always have red wine handy for recipes making up the amount of using half port half water.

Crumble the stock cube into the water, and add the plum jam (or redcurrant jelly) stirring it to help it dissolve. Pour into the casserole.

Season using salt and pepper (I tend to avoid salt, as store bought stock normally has enough for me). Add sprigs of thyme or rosemary, this is not strictly necessary but since I grow my own it is so cheap I rarely avoid using these herbs!

Rosemary and Thyme

Put the lid on the pot and once boiling, remove from heat and place it in the over for 1 and 1/2 hours.

Remove from the oven, if the sauce is too runny add some cornflour to thicken it. To do this I normally ladle out some of the sauce stir the cornflour into it (usually a teaspoon or two at a time), then adding it back to the pot. Stir in under a medium heat. If after a couple of minutes it still does not look thick enough repeat. (I have never needed to so this more than twice).

Serve with potatoes and veggies.