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Smokey and sweet venison casserole


Eeeek! It’s seriously blowing a gale out there! And this is just the sort of dish I crave when it’s wet and wild. I love venison. I often buy it when I see it at the butcher’s. I tend to treat it like stewing beef; it has a deeper flavour, a bit like Oxtail, but it’s very lean, which makes it a healthy choice without compromising on flavour.
The best bit about this stew is the sauce, which is sweet from the crabapple jelly (use red currant if you like), which contrasts so nicely with the smokey paprika and the slightly aniseed star anise. I don’t actually like aniseed so don’t let that put you off if you don’t either. It’s very delicate but adds an almost Chinese perfumed quality to the dish.
The kids liked it. Well, kind of. They started well, then tailed off towards the end. Artie ate the mash and most of the meat, plus some carrot! I’ll take that. I persuaded Bea to eat a bit more with the prospect of a bag of milky stars later that night with an episode of Scooby Doo…
A perfect dish for Christmas entertaining, this one. Or simply for a cold winter weekend. You could do this in a slow cooker but DO brown off everything first (of course, if you own an Instant Pot you can brown off then slow cook in one pot!). I would slow cook on Medium for 4 hours, or Low for 7.
P.S. It’s called perfect mash as I use Adam’s double trick of heating the milk and butter first before ricing (with a potato ricer) the potatoes which makes them awesome. Try it. You’ll never go back!
Serves: 4
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 2 hours
Total time: 2 hours 15 minutes
2 tbsn vegetable oil
680g (approx) venison, cubed
1 onion, cut into chunks
4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
3 or 4 carrots, cut into chunks
2 parsnips, cut into chunks
1 small swede, cut into chunks
2 tbsn plain flour
1 heaped tspn smoked paprika
1 large glass red wine
750ml light beef stock (simply dilute with more water than it says)
1 tbsn tomato puree
3 bay leaves
3 star anise
Salt and pepper
  1. Preheat the oven to 150C.
  2. Heat oil until smoking in a heavy bottom pan. Brown the meat in batches over a high heat. Set aside.
  3. Reduce heat. Tip the veggies and garlic into the pan. Stir and let them cook for a minute or two.
  4. Add the meat back in. Stir in the flour and paprika. Let it cook a little.
  5. Tip in the wine and deglaze the pan. And the stock too. Also the tomato puree.
  6. Now the herbs and spices. Pop the lid on and cook in oven for 2 hours.
  7. In the meantime make your mash.
  8. Cook and then drain potatoes.
  9. Heat milk and butter in a pan. Rice potatoes directly into hot mixture, over a low heat. Add creme fraiche and season very well. Set aside till needed.
  10. Serve a dollop of lash with a dollop of casserole.



  1. December 3, 2015 / 11:27 am

    I was reading thru the site of my friend when I stumbled on this recipe and it literally made my mouth drool! If I cook it using an electric pressure cooker, how long should I cook it for?

  2. December 3, 2015 / 11:28 am

    Hi Kristine, I have an Instant Pot and I would do it for 30 mins or so on high pressure. Even 20 would do it though… Rachel xx

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