Saturday, 9 January 2010

Slow Cooker Venison

I really like slow cookers - in fact I've got two of them (it's a long story). But I’ve found that you can’t simply take a standard casserole recipe, shove it in a slow cooker and expect perfect results. They do need a little tweaking at the very least. But they do work really well for some types of casserole and I think game is one of the best meats for a slow cooker.

500 g cubed venison
1 red onion, quite finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and cut into fairly small chunks
150 ml chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato purée
1½ tbsp redcurrant or rowan jelly or cranberry sauce
A squeeze or two of lemon juice

genievreFor the marinade:
A few pieces of orange peel (from about ⅓ of an orange at most)
½ tsp dried thyme
4 tbsp genièvre (or gin, but I just happen to have some genièvre)
2 tbsp blackberry vinegar
Dash of Worcester sauce
200 ml red wine

 Put all the marinade ingredients together in a bowl and add the carrots, onion and venison. Mix well, cover and leave in the fridge overnight.

The next day, preheat the slow cooker. Drain and reserve the marinade, discarding the orange peel. Pick out the meat, dry it off a bit with some paper towel and brown in a little olive oil – it will probably be necessary to do this in batches. Transfer the meat to the slow cooker. Add the carrots and onion to the pan and fry it for around 5 minutes or so. Pour in the reserved marinade and bring to the boil. Add the chopped tomatoes and tomato purée. Bring back to the boil and pour into the slow cooker. There should be enough liquid to just cover the meat and carrots – if not, add a little stock or water. Stir in the redcurrant jelly or cranberry sauce (I used cranberry sauce because it’s that time of year and I'd already made some).

Make sure everything is well mixed and cook for around six hours, although the time needed will depend on the type and size of the slow cooker.

Finish by adjusting the seasoning and adding a squeeze or two of lemon juice. If the casserole seems a little too thin then thicken with a little cornflour.

This will either work as a casserole served with mash or as a pie filling. Since the casserole is low fat, using a low fat pastry makes a sort of sense.