|Italian Venison Casserole
This is a robust Italian casserole full of intense flavour. Great to make early on in the day if there is a passage planned for the afternoon and dinner straight after anchoring. Make double and the crew will love it too. Serve with a creamy polenta or potatoes to soak up the gravy. Or what I love is some beautiful fresh from the oven crusty bread to mop it all up. This dish is very filling so serve small portions if serving a three plus course meal. Note: this is great with beef or lamb too.
Italian Venison Casserole
Serves 4 large portions
1 rosemary sprig
1 large white onion or red
1 garlic clove
80g prosciutto (you can substitute for streaky bacon if prosciutto is like 80 + NM away)
1 kg venison, cut into large cubes
1 litre beef stock
75ml red wine vinegar
100ml robust red wine
1/2 teaspoon of ground clove
4 juniper berries
large pinch of all spice
1 bay leaf
3 tablespoons plain flour
2 tablespoons dry Marsala or brandy (I have used sherry in the past too)
1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
Remove the leafs of the rosemary from the stalk and chop them finely along with the onion and garlic. Slice the prosciutto. Heat a large heavy saucepan over a medium heat and add half the butter (50g) along with the rosemary, garlic, onion and prosciutto, reduce the heat and cook until soft around 5 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside.
Increase the heat of the saucepan and add the venison and freshly cracked pepper cook this for 10 minutes or until brown on all sides.
Place the stock in a saucepan and bring to the boil, then reduce to low heat.
Increase the heat to high under the venison, add the prosciutto onion mix back in and pour in the vinegar, cook this until the mixture is thick and syrupy (this will not take long). Add the red wine and again reduce until syrup like, stir in half the stock.
Add the clove, juniper berries, all spice and bay leaf, cover the saucepan and simmer gently for 1 hour. Stir the mixture twice and add more water if the liquid is reducing to much.
In the mean time, melt the remaining 50g of butter in a small saucepan and stir in the flour, cook over moderate heat until it become a light brown colour. Slowly add in the remaining stock 500ml and cook the sauce out until it thickens slightly. Use a whisk to prevent lumps in the brown sauce.
After the hour is up add the brown sauce (above) to the venison casserole, add the Marsala, brandy or sherry in. Cook uncovered for 20 minutes. Check for seasoning of salt and pepper.
Mix together the lemon zest and parsley and sprinkle over the top before serving.
(Unfortunately I was all out of lemons and they where 80 +NM away so therefore it is
not shown in the photo)