Game casserole

Game casserole

Game is on! Sorry, I could not help myself. But really, the game is now literally on or more precisely in season. Unless you have a friendly hunter on speed dial, eating and buying game might be expensive. If, like me, you like game flavours but don’t want to part with a large chunk of your children’s inheritance ask your butcher for chunks of mixed game. Made with smaller pieces of meat left after trimming more expensive cuts such mix is generally at a good price compared to other game. I like to use dark meat, such as venison or boar, along with paler pieces (pheasant or rabbit) for casseroling. Just add flavours that traditionally pair with game such as thyme and juniper and boost it with smoked bacon. Try to use the smokiest bacon you can get. It adds to the wonderful wintery aroma.

game casserole

Serves 2 adults and 1 – 2 children (depending on how greedy they are)

Equipment required: large, flameproof casserole dish with a lid.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tblsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 85g chopped smoked streaky bacon or pancetta
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1 tblsp flour
  • 350ml chicken stock
  • 150ml medium to full body red wine (I use rioja)
  • 400g mixed game in 50:50 mix dark and pale meat, cut into 3.5 – 5 cm chunks
  • 80g redcurrant or cranberry sauce
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • ½ tblsp juniper berries, crushed
  • 160g carrots, cut into matchsticks
  • 200g button mushrooms
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Method:

  1. Pour the oil into the casserole dish put over medium-low heat.
  2. When hot, add the onions and bacon with a pinch of salt and decent amount of black pepper. Fry for about 10 minutes or until hot, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add garlic and cook for another minute, then sprinkle with flour.
  4. Pour in the hot stock and mix well. Add the wine, bring to boil and bubble for couple of minutes to thicken slightly.
  5. Add the game, redcurrant (or cranberry) sauce, bay leaf, thyme and juniper berries. Bring to boil, then cover and simmer for 40 minutes.
  6. Add the carrots and mushrooms and simmer for another 40 minutes or until the meat is tender. Taste and season to taste.

Serve with herby dumpling or big chunk of sourdough ciabatta and a glass of Rioja.

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