Rich, festive and indulgent – what a fabulous casserole this is – the venison, so tasty, is cooked so that it falls off the fork, melting in the mouth; and the sweet cranberries provide a perfect foil to the meat, with no hint of their original tartness. The last minute addition of dark chocolate gives the sauce a glossy finish and that little something extra! Enjoy – it’s wholesome and indulgent all at the same time!
Serves 6 – 8
What you need…
250g rindless smoked back bacon, chopped
3 tablespoons plain flour
Sea salt and black pepper
1.5kg lean venison, diced
2 – 3 tablespoons rapeseed oil
16 whole baby onions
3 fat garlic cloves, chopped
250g button mushrooms, cleaned
1 bay leaf and 1 small bunch parsley, tied together
1 x bottle robust red wine
2 tablespoons soft light brown sugar
300ml beef gravy
50g dark chocolate (70%+ cocoa solids)
What to do…
Start the day before you want to enjoy your casserole. In a large saucepan, dry-fry the bacon over a moderate heat until crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside on kitchen paper. Tip the flour into a plastic bag, season well and then throw in the venison, tossing the bag around so that the all the venison gets covered in the seasoned flour.
Into the saucepan, heat half the rapeseed oil and cook the venison in batches until browned, adding more rapeseed oil as required. Using your slotted spoon, remove the venison as it browns and set aside.
Tip the onions and garlic into the pan, stirring and cook for 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally for a further 5 minutes.
Return the venison and bacon to the pan and add the herbs and red wine. Slowly bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 1 hour. Leave to cool, then pop in the fridge overnight.
The next day, add the cranberries, sugar and gravy, season and mix well. Partially cover and simmer for about 40 minutes or until the cranberries are soft. Break up the chocolate and stir in until it’s all melted and evenly distributed. Taste your casserole – you may need to add a little more sugar to counter the tartness of the cranberries.
Serve this lovely rich, festive and heartwarming casserole with buttery mashed potato and some greenery!
Woman and Home magazine
Not difficult, but quite time consuming on day one. Absolutely worth it though and I like the fact that you get all the messy and ‘arduous’ stuff done the day before you’re going to enjoy this lovely casserole.