Tag Archives: venison

New Year's Eve dinner 2010

New Year's Eve venison

When I ordered the goose from Fields, I added a venison loin to the order for New Year’s Eve; traditionally, I cook dinner for three close friends on 31/12, and have done so for many years. The fact that we’ve moved 220 miles away seems to make no difference 🙂

The butcher phoned a couple of weeks before Christmas to say their supplier had delivered no venison loins (perhaps they have a very odd breed of deer up here :), and would a haunch be OK. As I’d never cooked either, it seemed a plan, so he set aside a 2Kg one for me. I asked how much it would cost, and felt a bit faint when he told me but, you know, festive season and all that.

By Friday morning, we realised we had *8* people for dinner, so during the morning Pete and I between us cooked up a huge batch of dauphinoise potatoes with leeks to accompany the venison and sugar snap peas. I had a bag of cranberries in the fridge, and a punnet of plums, so I did a plum streusel (using this recipe, but without the pine nuts) and a cranberry and chocolate roulade. The former went very well; the latter …

My oven is ancient and not very good. I baked the roulade for the recommended time, and it clearly wasn’t cooked, so I gave it another five minutes. When I came to get it out of the tin, it was a bit sticky, but I slathered it with the cream and cranberries and then – disaster. It wouldn’t roll up, and was really more like a chocolate mooooose than a sponge. Too late to do anything about it, so we manoeuvred it on to as plate (getting covered in chocolate to boot), dusted it with icing sugar to hide the damage, and hoped for the best. And despite its rather collapsed appearance, it was *gorgeous*, and every scrap was consumed.

On to the venison. I was a bit worried, because it cost £38! (yes, really), and I didn’t want to wreck it. In the end, I went for Hugh Fearnley-Eatsitall’s method – seasoned it, put some fresh thyme and bay leaves on it and wrapped it in 12 thin rashers of bacon. 30 minutes at gas 7, then 50 at gas 4 (it weighed 2.156kgs, boned), and it was cooked *to perfection*, lovely and pink. It went down very well.

Eight people round our dining table was a bit of a squeeze, and there was a rather varied assortment of chairs, but we managed, and a fine night was had by all. I think between us Pete and I did eight lots of washing up between last night’s dinner and this morning’s cooked breakfast for four – roll on the kitchen makeover in Feb, and a DISHWASHER.

Sadly there is both venison and plum cake left, so Pete and I will have to eat it tonight. Such hardship.

And I wish you all a very happy new year!

venison stew

I found a pound of chopped venison in the freezer, and decided to cook it up for Sunday lunch.

I cut two large carrots in batons, and fried them off with a dozen peeled shallots, in olive oil with a splash of maple syrup, using my wonderful decades old Le Creuset cast iron pot.  I added a pack of cubed pancetta part way through.

Set these aside, put a tablespoon or so of flour in the pan, and hurled in the venison and stirred it about.  Then in a fit of experimentation, I added about 1/2 pint of banana beer (well, it was all we had), together with juniper berries, peppercorns, a tablespoon each of grain mustard and redcurrant jelly, and some salt.

Returned the veg and pancetta to the casserole, and put it in a very low oven for 3 hours.  Will finish it off today, and eat with dumplings and red cabbage.

mixed game casserole

mixed game casserole

We went down to Nailsea yesterday, and the farmers’ market was on.  We came home with four beautiful faggots, and a pack of venison sausages, which have gone in the freezer.  And a loaf of stilton and walnut bread, which we had with some smoked buffalo cheese we also got there, and the remainder toasted for breakfast this morning – it went surprisingly well with marmalade!

And a pack of mixed game – venison and pheasant, mostly.  It was £5.90 for 500g; not quite enough to do four meals, but too much for two, so I immediately put 100g of lima beans into soak, and made the casserole yesterday evening, to cook slowly today for dinner.  We shall have it with dumplings, and purple sprouting broccoli.

I’ve put the recipe on Nibblous, as it’s a more “grown up” one than I normally do, and I thought it deserved it.