Friday Supper: Braised venison with chocolate sauce served with Excelsior Shiraz

This is a sumptuous venison casserole with a twist. Serve with Excelsior Paddock Shiraz.

Why is this the right wine choice? Shiraz, with its inherent gaminess, loves game!  The berry-fruit flavours in the wine work well with sweet trimmings like butternut squash and savoury sauces enriched with dark chocolate, as in this recipe. Shiraz isn’t fazed by spicy or sharp spices/ sauces.

To serve 4 you will need:

  • 600g venison leg or shoulder, diced
  • 2 tbsp seasoned flour
  • 6 tbsp olive oil
  • 150g smoked bacon lardons
  • 3 shallots, peeled and quartered
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 5 carrots, quartered
  • 3 medium turnips, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 sticks celery, finely chopped
  • 3 flat mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • 1 heaped tbsp thyme
  • 1 heaped tbsp rosemary, chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 700ml red wine
  • 300ml beef stock
  • 30g good-quality dark chocolate, finely chopped
  • 40g butter
  • 2 heaped tbsp redcurrant jelly
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Large pinch of pepper

What to do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 160°C/gas mark 2½. Pour half of the olive oil into a large ovenproof casserole dish and heat over a medium heat. Add the lardons of bacon and cook for 4-5 minutes or until crisp and slightly browned. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  2. Put the diced venison into a bowl with the seasoned flour and toss well. Ensure all of the meat is well coated and shake off the excess flour. Put the casserole dish back over a medium heat. Once hot (you may need to add a little more oil at this point), add the venison in batches and cook until the meat is browned on all sides. Remove from the casserole dish and set aside with the lardons of bacon
  3. Add the rest of the olive oil to the casserole dish and heat over a medium heat, then add the garlic, shallots and celery and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the carrots, turnip, mushrooms and herbs and cook for about 10 minutes on a low–medium heat or until the vegetables and shallots are slightly browned. Stir frequently.
  4. Return the venison and bacon to the casserole dish and stir gently. Add the red wine and bring to the boil, then add the beef stock and season with the salt and pepper. Bring back to the boil, then cover with a tight fitting lid and transfer to the pre-heated oven. Cook for about 1½ – 1¾ hours, or until the meat is tender.
  5. Once the meat is tender, remove from the oven and strain the meat and vegetables through a large sieve, retaining the liquid. Pour the liquid into a saucepan and bring back to the boil. Place the venison and the vegetables back into the casserole dish and cover to keep warm.
  6. Once the liquid is boiling, whisk in the redcurrant jelly and reheat gently. Lower the heat and whisk in the butter and the chocolate. Add small amounts gradually to ensure the chocolate does not split and go grainy. Taste and adjust the seasoning accordingly. Pour the sauce over the venison and vegetables and stir well.
  7. Serve with roasted butternut, creamed celeriac or mashed potato and steamed greens.

From Channel 4 Food

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