Tag: slow cook

Venison, Chestnut and Porcini Casserole

Venison, Chestnut and Porcini Casserole

Venison is such a lovely meat to casserole on the Big Green Egg.  The EGG seems to overcome that one problem you can have with venison – its tendency to dry out.  To be able to combine this with a seasonal ‘bounty crop’ was just too good a chance to miss.  We had been given some beautiful cubed venison which seemed to contain a mix of the more obvious stewing pieces of venison with some of the more tender braising cuts.  Unfortunately, this was all the information we had, nor did we know from which type of deer the venison came.  In reality any venison listed for braising or casseroling would be fine.  The most likely source would be shoulder venison.  We also had some  fresh chestnuts that we had picked when walking in Italy and had brought back to the UK in our cool box!  We also used our own dried porcini mushrooms that we had dried when in Italy which made the dish very special for us.

Preparation was relatively simple and was done on the stove top – but could have been completed on the EGG if it hadn’t been raining so heavily.  The mushrooms were covered in cold water and left for 5 mins.  This first water was poured away to remove any debris and then they were covered again with around 300ml of just boiled water and left for 20 mins.  Meanwhile our Dutch oven was heated and a little oil added, followed by the cubed pancetta and a couple of bay leaves.  We were using some homemade pancetta, but shop bought would work equally well. Once the pancetta pieces were lightly coloured and some of their fat had been rendered they were removed from the pan and set aside in a bowl.

The venison was then lightly floured with a seasoned flour and fried off in batches in the Dutch oven.  It is important to fry them until each piece takes on some colour.  These were then set aside too.  Then into the pan we added the roughly chopped onion and as soon as that was taking on some colour the chopped garlic followed by the carrots and finally the celery.  Usually in a dish like this we would chop the vegetables finely – but on this occasion we wanted a combination of finely chopped for flavour and coarsely chopped for texture and visual appeal.  These were all stirred through the oils to lightly sauté.  The herbs and spices were then added and cooked for around 15 mins in total.  It may be necessary to add a little more oil at this stage.   The tomato puree and some red wine were then added and the heat on the Dutch oven turned up to deglaze the pan.  In the absence of any juniper berries a slug of gin was also included.  Once the pan was deglazed the venison and pancetta were reintroduced together with the rehydrated porcini (chopped if too large.)

Finally the mix of beef and chicken stock, together with the porcini soaking liquor was added and the whole pan was brought up to a simmer.

The uncovered Dutch oven was put into the large BGE set up for indirect cooking at around 110-120C for around 2 hours (1.5-3hr depending on the toughness of the meat).  

Around 30 mins from the end of the cooking 2 large handfuls of cooked chestnuts (these had been boiled and peeled) were added together with a tablespoon of redcurrant jelly.

 

Venison chestnut and Porcini Casserole

November 25, 2019
: 6
: 40 min
: Straightforward

A venison casserole enhanced with the autumnal tastes of chestnuts and porcini mushrooms

By:

Ingredients
  • 25g dried porcini mushrooms
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 100g pancetta (or smoked bacon) lardons
  • 1kg venison shoulder, cut into 2-3cm dice
  • 1-2 tbsp flour
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 celery sticks, coarsely and finely chopped
  • 2 large carrots, coarsely and finely chopped
  • A sprig of thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • A pinch of ground cloves
  • A pinch of ground nutmeg
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 200ml red wine
  • 200ml of mixed chicken and beef stock ! Suggest one stockpot of each
  • 1 tablespoon recurrant jelly
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 large handfuls or 1 pack of cooked chestnuts added near the end
  • 400g mushrooms sliced added at the end
  • 2 tbsp parsley, chopped
  • Salt and black pepper
Directions
  • Step 1 Cover the mushrooms with cold water and leave for 5 mins. Pour away this first water. Cover again with around 300ml of just boiled water and leave for 20 mins.  
  • Step 2 Heat the Dutch oven and add a little oil followed by the cubed pancetta and a couple of bay leaves. Once the pancetta pieces are lightly coloured and some of their fat has been rendered remove from the pan and set aside in a bowl.
  • Step 3 Flour the venison with flour lightly seasoned with salt and pepper and fry off in batches in the Dutch oven till the meat takes on some colour. Set aside.  
  • Step 4 Add the roughly chopped onion to the pan and as soon as that was taking on some colour add the chopped garlic followed by the carrots and finally the celery.  Stir through the oil to lightly sauté.  
  • Step 5 Add the herbs and spices and cook for around 15 mins in total.  It is may be necessary to add a little more oil at this stage.  
  • Step 6 Add the tomato puree and some red wine and increase the heat on the Dutch to deglaze the pan.  In the absence of any juniper berries add a slug of gin.  
  • Step 7 Once the pan is deglazed reintroduce the venison and pancetta together with the rehydrated porcini (chopped if too large).  Add the mix of beef and chicken stock together with the porcini soaking liquor and bring to a simmer.
  • Step 8 Put the uncovered Dutch in the large BGE set up for indirect cooking at around 110-120C for around 2 hours (1.5-3hr depending on the toughness of the meat). When within about 30 mins of the end of the cooking add the cooked chestnuts and a tablespoon of redcurrant jelly.  Heat some butter in a large frying pan and cook the chopped fresh mushrooms until they start to wilt. Season well and cook until they take on some colour then tip into the venison pan and stir through.
  • Step 9 Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. If the casserole is too fluid – mix a little cornflour in cold water and add some of the stock to this and then stir through the casserole and cook for 10 mins more. Serve with mashed potatoes and add some freshly chopped parsley
Venison leg and Onion Jam

Venison leg and Onion Jam

We were given a venison joint by a good friend!  The details of the beast from which it came were a little unclear – the cut was in doubt too (but probably boned leg)!  It was thought to be Red Deer but we did not know how old the animal was.  When ever in doubt as to the age of the animal I tend to assume that it would be old.  This way we treat the meat as though it may be a little tough and cook accordingly.  So for this reason we planned a ‘slow cook,’ cooking at a low temperature but for a longer time. (more…)

Red Deer Osso-Bucco

Red Deer Osso-Bucco

We had very much enjoyed the Osso-Bucco we made on the Big Green Egg last year (see here) so when we came across some Red Deer shin cut in the same way as veal for Osso-Bucco it seemed too good an opportunity to miss.  The pieces were smaller than when using veal but that would give the advantage of hopefully more marrow being released into the sauce when the meat was braised.  As the venison was likely to be a little more robust than the veal, the sauce was made with a little more tomato and a combination of Bay, Thyme and Oregano to match the richness, so a further step away from the Milanese original but exciting because of that!

The venison was no thicker than the veal we used last time but the diameter of the pieces was less.  I did wonder if we could dispense with the butchers string tied round each piece to preserve the meat intact, but in the end we decided to tie the pieces anyway These were then lightly floured and seasoned, then gently caramelised in butter in the Dutch oven to intensify their flavour.  They were then set to one side.

A little more butter was then added to the pan and the onions were sautéd to slightly soften, then the carrots and celery were added and lightly cooked.  At this point we added 4 garlic cloves, the zest of 1.5 lemons, 2 Bay leaves, some dried Thyme and Oregano and cooked for a few minutes more.  There is no place for mushrooms in an authentic Osso-Bucco – but they had worked well for us last time and seemed even more appropriate with venison, so these were added together with whole and halved stuffed green olives  that we had to hand!.  We also added 2 cans of chopped tomatoes to add further richness to the sauce.  Then all that was needed was to add the white wine.  The heat was turned up to begin to concentrate the sauce.
After about 10 minutes the meat was tucked in between the vegetable mix and the dutch oven was moved out of the kitchen and onto the Big Green Egg.  This had been set up for indirect cooking at around 120C.   Once gently bubbling, hot chicken stock was added.  The pot was allowed to simmer in the closed EGG without its lid.  As we have said previously cooking without the lid on the Dutch oven works well in the EGG as the EGG naturally retains moisture in the food being cooked so the pan does not tend to dry out, but the absence of the lid allowed the whole dish to pick up some very gentle ‘smoky tones’ from the charcoal. This time we also added a little Chestnut wood to the fire to add further gentle smoky overtones .

The pot was then cooked very gently for around 3hrs making sure the meat was kept moist by the surrounding sauce.
An occasional gentle stir allowed us to make sure the venison remained below the surface of the liquid and let us keep an eye on the cooking process.

As the dish cooked it took on a wonderfully unctuous character as the sauce became richer and looked to be a good match for the venison.  The venison softened but held together well.  The meat was removed from the sauce, covered with foil and set aside in a warm spot whilst the sauce was finished.  Sometimes, at this point it is worth adding a suspension of cornflour in cold water if the sauce is a little runny and just a fresh sprinkle of herbs in the last few minutes of cooking.  The sauce was finished by adding a few dots of butter and stirring.  The string was removed from the meat before serving with the sauce.  It works really well with plain rice though my favourite is with some crispy roast potatoes and broccoli or a root vegetable.  This is a delicious dish and the sauce with the enriched bone marrow is delightful, but it does have one downside and that is we are yet to find a delicate way of plating it!.  This has been the same with the Veal Osso-Bucco that we made earlier and with this Venison version too.  I think if we could find a supplier with whole shin we would get them cut at around 4cm thick. I think they would then hold their shape a little more easily and that would make plating easier too.

A note for next time – with the size of our dutch oven there was perhaps a little too much meat to manage easily – so next time perhaps reduce the volumes a little!!

Red Deer Osso-Bucco

February 19, 2019
: 6-8
: 1 hr
: 3 hr
: 4 hr
: Straight forward

Osso-Bucco made with Red Deer Venison in a rich tomato enriched sauce

By:

Ingredients
  • 2.1 kg of Shin Venison
  • Length of butchers string to tie round each piece of meat
  • Seasoned flour
  • Knob of butter
  • 3 large Onions finely diced
  • 2 Large carrot finely diced
  • 6 sticks of celery finely diced
  • 4 large garlic cloves whole
  • Lemon zest
  • Bay leaf
  • Dried Thyme
  • Dried Oregano
  • 2 Glasses of white wine
  • Chicken stock/2 chicken stockpots
  • 2 Large cans of chopped tomatoes / fresh tomatoes
  • Handful of whole and halved stuffed green olives (optional)
  • Chestnut mushrooms (optional)
Directions
  • Step 1 Tie some butchers string around the circumference of the meat to hold it together whilst cooking. Lightly dust with seasoned flour and caramelise in butter in the Dutch oven. Then set to one side.
  • Step 2 Add a little more butter to the pan and sauté the onions to slightly soften. Then add the the carrots and celery and cook lightly.  
  • Step 3 To this gently cooking mixture add the whole garlic cloves, the lemon zest, a bay leaf and some sage and cook for a few minutes more.  Add the sliced chestnut mushrooms, olives  and together with a can of chopped tomatoes bring back to the simmer.
  • Step 4 Add the white wine and turn up the heat to begin to concentrate the sauce.  After about 10 minutes tuck the meat back into the vegetable mix and put the dutch oven into the Big Green Egg set up for indirect cooking at around 120C.   Once gently bubbling, add the hot chicken stock (or stockpot) and leave to simmer without the Dutch oven lid, in the closed EGG.  
  • Step 5 Cook very gently for around 3hrs making sure the meat is kept moist by the surrounding sauce.  Gently stir the sauce occasionally without disturbing the meat too much.  
  • Step 6 If the sauce requires any thickening do so with a little cornflour premixed in some cold water and finish off the sauce by adding a few dots of butter and stirring it in once the meat has been removed.
  • Step 7 Remember to snip off the string used to hold the meat together before serving.

 

Smoked Venison Ragu

Smoked Venison Ragu

We had planned to make a very rich casserole using some cubed shoulder of wild venison that we had picked up just before Christmas.  With all the festive excitement it had been popped in the freezer.  Once defrosted I was a little disappointed to see that the cubes were a little smaller than I had thought – it was clearly not destined to make a venison equivalent of “Daube of Beef”.  A quick rethink took us from France to Italy and from Daube to Ragu!  The recipe is simplicity itself. (more…)

Our Christmas Terrine

Our Christmas Terrine

Having finally come to the conclusion what we were going to include in the Christmas Terrine it was time to put it all together!!  The one thing we have learned this year making terrines is that (more…)

Game Terrine – getting in practice for Christmas

Game Terrine – getting in practice for Christmas

We had fun making terrines on the Big Green Egg over the summer when on holiday in Tuscany.  So now it was time to put some of that experience together as we get ready for Christmas.   (more…)

Rabbit served Tuscan style

Rabbit served Tuscan style


This is really a footnote to the recipe “Slow cooked rabbit with boozy apricots”.   Slow cooked meat dishes with a rich sauce are often served in the same way that the Tuscans serve their rich soups, (more…)

Slow cooked rabbit with boozy apricots

Slow cooked rabbit with boozy apricots

Rabbit has been a European staple for certainly the last 3000 years and was introduced into Britain by the Romans in the first century AD under the Emperor Claudius.  Its popularity throughout Europe has remained strong but in the latter half of the last century became much less common in Britain.  This is a real shame as it is an excellent protein source and a reasonably versatile meat.  On the whole it should be cooked either very quickly or very slowly – when it can be fantastic – cooked somewhere between these extremes and it tends to be tough, dry, or both!

The way we have cooked it here is a slight variation on Jackie’s classic rabbit with prunes recipe which we have enjoyed together for the last 40 years or so!  This particular recipe is cooked with ‘boozy apricots’ (more…)

Osso-Bucco

Osso-Bucco

Osso bucco is a classic Italian dish which, as long as you don’t translate it into English (bones with holes), has lovely romantic overtones and memories of Italian holidays.  The dish is based on slow braised veal, but the bones, or more importantly the marrow from those bones, adds a delicious something else to this dish – whatever you do – make sure that the bones do go back to the kitchen ‘hollow’ with anything that still resides in their centres after cooking eaten and relished.  The dish can also (more…)

Tuscan Terrine – Two!

Tuscan Terrine – Two!

This is a very short blog (and modified recipe) about our second attempt at the Tuscan Terrine (see the first version here).

The recipe remains largely the same.  In an attempt to have a slightly drier mix, only the gin was used as a liquid addition, forgoing the red wine and orange juice, which meant we could limit the amount of the bread used for the bread crumbs.   (more…)

Borlotti Beans – Tuscan Style

Borlotti Beans – Tuscan Style

Perhaps it was all too inevitable – if it works well for cannellini beans it would probably work well for borlotti beans too!   (more…)

Slow cooked Tuscan Beans with Sage – Fagioli Stufati

Slow cooked Tuscan Beans with Sage – Fagioli Stufati

The simplest of simple Tuscan dishes.  Slow cooked Cannellini beans infused with sage.  Two hundred and fifty grams of dried beans were soaked for about 12 hours overnight and then put into the our small cast iron Le Creuset casserole dish.  This will just fit onto the Mini BGE and allow the lid to close.  Into the dish was poured a few generous slugs of olive oil and 15-20 torn sage leaves together with some salt and pepper. The dish was then topped up with water so the top of the water almost covered the beans – but not quite! The pot was then put into the BGE at the end of a cook and the residual heat from the Egg used to slow cook the beans – in truth the first time we did this we just let the BGE continue cooking for around 45 mins and then closed off the vents – on other occasions we have closed off the vents straight away – but this sometimes results in partially cooked beans – no problem if you don’t need them immediately – just put them in the fridge and put them back on the BGE during the cooling cycle during tomorrows cook!

These are a great store cupboard/fridge ready dish – served by themselves, warm or cold, with some crusty bread, warmed with a steak or cold with a terrine – a great choice!

Slow cooked Tuscan Beans with Sage

August 11, 2018
: 2-4
: 12 hr
: 3 hr
: 11 hr
: Easy - 10 minutes work and 15hrs watching or sleeping!

Tuscan style beans - slow cooked

By:

Ingredients
  • 250g dried Cannellini beans
  • Water to soak
  • Olive Oil
  • Sage leaves
  • Salt and Pepper
Directions
  • Step 1 Soak 250g dried Cannellini beans for around 12 hours overnight
  • Step 2 Put the rehydrated beens into a heavy casserole dish and add some generous slugs of olive oil. Tear 8-10 sage leaves and mix in with the beans, add salt and pepper. Top up with water so it just reaches the top of the beans – no more
  • Step 3 Put the dish into the BGE at the end of a cook and use the residual heat to cook the beans (or cook on a low heat for a couple of hours) – check after about 2 hours to make sure there is enough liquid- and if necessary add just a little boiling water. If not fully cooked when the BGE is cool then pop in the fridge until ready and warm on a low heat when needed – or simply pop back into the BGE on the cooling cycle if you are using it the next day
  • Step 4 Served by themselves, warm or cold, with some crusty bread, warmed with a steak or cold with a terrine
  • Step 5  

Variation

I managed to find an original recipe for fresh beans in Le Ricette Regionali Italian by Anna Gosetti della Salda-  It roughly translates as:

STUFFED BEANS Ingredients: for 4 people, fresh cannellini beans 1kg, some sage leaves “virgin” olive oil a lemon – salt – pepper. Pod the beans and put in a terracotta ‘vase’; cover them with cold water (for four times its volume – not sure of this part of the translation), add a few leaves of sage, salt and pepper. Place it on a very low heat, allowing the beans to cook for about 4 hours (ideally they should be “piped” in a corner of the old wood-fueled kitchen). When they are ready, sprinkle with good olive oil, a little lemon juice, salt and pepper, mix carefully and serve hot. Variation: sometimes pieces of tuna or ventresca(?) are combined, or better still thin slices of onion and fillet herring preserved in oil

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