Stephen King, executive chef at Uisge, makes a hearty and healthy winter casserole dish using one of his favourite meats.
With the over-indulgences that come with Christmas and New Year now behind us, many people make the effort to try and get a bit of a health kick throughout January by avoiding hearty comfort foods.
This is where the benefits of venison come to mind, with both red deer and roe deer currently in season. Venison is sustainable and, as well as becoming more popular, is also more freely available than it used to be.
You can enjoy venison in the knowledge that it is a healthy option. Apart from being full of flavour it’s a great swap for other red meats as it is very lean, high in protein, low in saturated fats and a good source of iron, zinc and vitamin B,
It’s a much more versatile meat than people imagine – it holds its own in fine dining but is also great for favourites such as burgers, chilli or casseroles, pairing perfectly with root veg which is also in season through January.
For a more special meal why not ask your butcher for some venison haunch steaks and serve alongside roast root vegetables and your favourite potato as a tasty, healthy alternative to beef.
Venison will certainly be making an appearance at Uisge through January on our special board, as a more refined dish as well as one of my favourites in a hearty casserole.
There is nothing better when it’s miserable, cold and dark outside than sitting down to a hearty plate of food and this has to be one of the nicest.
To make my venison casserole, which serves 5-6, you’ll need: 1.2kg diced venison; 2 white onions; 3 large carrots; 3 parsnips; 1 turnip; 1kg new potatoes, halved; 4 cloves of garlic, crushed; 1 heaped tsp chopped thyme and rosemary; 2 tbsp tomato purée; 1 litre chicken stock.
Before starting, large dice the onion, carrot, parsnip and turnip into a bowl with the garlic and herbs keeping to potatoes aside.
In a large casserole pot heat a little oil and brown off the venison with a little seasoning, once nice and coloured remove the venison from the pot and leave aside.
In the same pot sweat off all of the veg, herbs and garlic with a little seasoning scraping the bottom of the pot while you do this. Once the veg has a nice colour add the tomato purée and give it a stir, add the venison back to the pan and stir it all together. Now add the chicken stock and a little more water to just cover everything.
Bring it to the boil, then add in the potatoes and turn the heat down to a very low simmer. You can either cook it on the stove or cover it and put it in the oven at 150C for around 2 hours until the venison is tender and the sauce has thickened.
Serve in a bowl with some fresh crusty bread and a nice glass of full bodied red and enjoy.
Chef’s tip: Cook it as slowly as possible so it’s packed full of flavour.