Hearty, warming and nourishing, stews are to me the epitome of winter comfort. A great meal to make in advance as you can often make up as large dishes to feed many or freeze in batches.
The venison I used was from the farm I grew up on, fresh, organic and wild the way meat should be. Quality and ethical choice of meat is very important, venison is a lean protein and is now becoming more widely available at farmers markets and online retailers. It can often be bought wild rather than farmed meaning it has more omega 6’s than reared animals and has been allowed to roam and develop freely. I combined rich chestnuts and sweet cranberries to bring out the flavours of the meat, and reminiscent of the nuts and berries of the woodlands deer live in.
Protein rich stews are best served with low starch vegetables for easier digestion. I like to serve this stew with mashed celeriac to mop up the juices and a side of greens such as steamed cabbage, winter cabbage or brussel sprouts.
Free from gluten and dairy.
Prep Time 15minutes
Total Time 2 ¼ hours
- 600g venison chunks, making sure to remove all sinews with a sharp knife
- 2 tablespoons cornflour, plus another teaspoon
- oil or you could use leftover beef or meat dripping
- 4 – 6 baby shallots, diced
- 1 red onion, diced
- 1 large carrot, sliced
- 1 sprig of thyme
- 200g chopped chestnuts
- 100g dried cranberries
- roughly 1litre chicken stock or bone broth
- Take the meat out roughly half an hour before using and allow to sit at room temperature.
- Heat the oven to 160C.
- Place the venison chunks in a large bowl and in a separate smaller bowl place 2 tablespoons of cornflour and season generously. Pour the seasoned cornflour over the venison chunks and stir thoroughly so that all the pieces of meat are evenly coated.
- Heat the oil or dripping in a large casserole dish and quickly brown* the meat, you can do this in small batches removing each batch with a slotted spoon and setting aside. Set aside all the meat once browned.
- Using the same pan lower the heat and add the diced shallots, red onion and carrot, placing the lid on for around 5 minutes allowing the vegetables to sweat and soften.
- Once the vegetables are soft add the meat back in, a sprig of thyme and half the chestnuts and cranberries. Pour over roughly half the stock so that the meat and vegetables are just covered.
- Mix a teaspoon of cornflour with a few drips of water so that it becomes a paste and add this to the stew.
- Place the stew in the oven for roughly 2 hours, or if you are using a slow cooker at a lower heat for as long as you desire.
- You may want to check the stew half way through and add more stock if it’s looking a little dry.
- Remove the thyme sprig and add the rest of the chestnuts and cranberries before serving.
Notes- * To "brown" the meat refers to cooking the surface of the meat or meat chunks at a high temperature until browned, which "seals" the meat giving it a deeper flavour and holds it's shape when stewed for hours.