Venison and chestnut casserole

Venison and chestnut casserole
  • Serves icon Serves 4
  • Time icon Ready in 2½ hours

This is a lovely, warming winter dish made from lean venison and seasonal chestnuts. Delicious served with soft polenta or mashed potato.

For an Italian take on venison, try this gorgeous venison ragù.

Nutrition: per serving

Calories
528kcals
Fat
17.6g (6.6g saturated)
Protein
51.5g
Carbohydrates
38g (13.5g sugar)
Salt
1.3g
Calories
528kcals
Fat
17.6g (6.6g saturated)
Protein
51.5g
Carbohydrates
38g (13.5g sugar)
Salt
1.3g

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp butter, dripping or olive oil
  • 100g smoked streaky bacon, cut into strips
  • 800g diced venison or beef
  • 125ml red wine
  • 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 3 red onions, sliced
  • 12 baby carrots left whole or 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1 stick celery, washed and roughly sliced
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 1 fresh bay leaf
  • 300g roasted, peeled chestnuts (or vacuum-packed cooked chestnuts, such as Merchant Gourmet)

Method

  1.  If you plan to casserole this dish, preheat the oven to 150°C/fan130°C/gas 2. Heat the fat in a heavy-based pan and fry the bacon until golden. Remove and set aside, keeping the fat in the pan. Fry the venison or beef in the same pan, in batches, until brown (don’t overcrowd the pan or the meat will boil in its juices).
  2.  Remove the meat and transfer to a casserole or pot with a tight-fitting lid, along with the bacon and any scrapings from the pan. Add the wine, garlic, onions, carrots and celery and bring the heat up to make the wine bubble fiercely. Add the purée, herbs and enough water to just cover the meat. Cover, bring to a simmer and cook for 2 hours on the hob or in the oven.
  3.  After 1 hour, add the chestnuts and cook until the meat is very tender. Check from time to time that it’s juicy – if it’s dry, add more water and reduce the heat. You should be able to break a piece with the back of a fork. Season before serving.

delicious. tips

  1. Chestnuts naturally complement game. By all means use vacuum-packed chestnuts, but just imagine how roasting your own would make the kitchen smell. (To roast chestnuts, preheat the oven to the hottest setting. Split a section of the chestnuts’ skins, lay them flat on a roasting tray and put in the oven for 10-15 minutes. Or slit and microwave 5 or 6 at a time for 30 seconds or until cooked.) As game is so lean, it has a tendency to dryness when cooked for any length of time. Adding a fattier ingredient like bacon helps.

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