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Venison stew (casserole)

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Ingredients

Adjust Servings:
1 kg/2¼ lb venison, cut into large dice
salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 tbsp olive oil
100 g/ 4 oz panceta or fatty bacon, cubed
2 onions, diced
2 leeks, sliced and rinsed
2 carrot, peeled and diced
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 fresh sprig of thyme
2 bay leaves
200 ml/7 fl oz red wine

Venison stew (casserole)

guiso de venado

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    Buying and cooking venison stew

    Venison stew is made with deer meat. Ciervo , or red deer, and less commonly corzo , roe deer, and gamo , fallow deer, are all available in Spain. The same tips apply to all of them.

    Avoid shiny, wet looking meat that has probably not been hung for long enough, aged meat will have a dark, dull appearance.

    Venison is extremely lean meat, so it has a tendency to dry out if not treated carefully.

    Tender cuts such as the saddle, containing the loin and the fillet, or haunch, the leg, can be seared or roasted quickly and left quite pink.

    Meanwhile, the neck and shoulder require long, slow cooking such as braising or stewing to tenderize the tougher meat. A wine marinade may help to tenderize the meat, but the down side is that it may draw out valuable moisture from the meat too, so I wouldn’t bother. Adequate ageing and a very low oven temperature will do the trick.

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    Steps

    1
    Done

    Preheat the oven to 150°C/300°F/Gas Mark 2.

    2
    Done

    Season the venison with salt and pepper. Heat the olive oil in a large pan, add the venison in small batches and fry briefly, so that it sears rather than stews. Remove the meat with a slotted spoon and set aside.

    3
    Done

    Add the panceta , or bacon to the pan together with the onions, leeks and carrot and fry until the vegetables are soft and beginning to brown.

    4
    Done

    Next add the garlic and stir until it begins to give off its inimitable aroma. Pop the venison back in the pan. Add the herbs, the wine and just enough water to cover the meat, then cover and cook in the oven until fabulously tender. This may take anything between 1½ to 3 hours.

    5
    Done

    Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.

    6
    Done

    You may like to accompany this dish with white rice or creamy mashed potato, but I have to say that the unlikely local combination of venison casserole and chips is divine. We are not talking the spindly French variety but chunky chips of fried potato.

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