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C.C. Hogan

Venison Stew with Champ and Mushy Peas

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So easy and yet so satisfying

I am so pleased to see more and more venison appear in butchers and supermarkets.  Yes, I know it is Bambi, but quite honestly, Bambi is tasty!  Venison for stewing is not that expensive either and being very rich, you might not want a huge amount of it and to balance it off with veggies.

I have kept this one very, very simple, for you drunken layabouts.  I have no idea how many you are going to cook for, but I tend to go for about 200 grams of meat per person. So, ingredients for the evening are as follows - work out your own quantities.

  • Stewing venison, chopped up.
  • Equal amount of carrot to venison by size.  Chopped to a similar size
  • 1 onion per 400gm of venison - chopped medium fine.
  • 2 cloves garlic per...
  • Herbs: Bay Leaf, sage, oregano, parsley
  • 1 clove (don't lose the bloody thing)
  • Black pepper and salt
  • Red Wine
  • Beef stock cube or similar
  • Tins of marrow fat peas
  • Potatoes
  • More garlic
  • Spring Onions
  • Olive oil
  • Butter.

Right. I Tend to do these sorts of stews on the stove in a large covered pan - wide one, like a deep frying pan.  However, if you are doing lots, you may want to migrate it to the oven having got it started.

First, fry off the meat in small quantities in olive oil till well and truly browned.  Remove each batch and put aside.  Once all done,  add the onion and chopped garlic to the pan and cook till soft. Now add the carrots and then venison. Add your herbs and the cloves (you might want to put the bay leaf and the cloves in muslin so you can find them again) and then pour in enough red wine to just cover it all.  Then add your beef stock cube or one of the better modern little stock jellie things. I said this was rich!

Cook in a large, heavy pan

Note:  If you are using fresh stock, then you need to boil it right down first till it is a thick jus.  This is meant to be mostly wine.

Lower to a simmer (or put in a medium oven) and cook for up to two hours.  Watch it does not dry out, but (and this is a big but) the result should be well rendered down - naturally thick and sticky. So don't go and drown the damned thing!

Another note: I strongly recommend you invest in some really classy, professional, heavy non stick pans. They make all this sort of thing so much easier!

Mash

Champ, if you have not had it before, is mashed potato with spring onion - beloved by the Irish, and rightly so.  However, I add garlic too.

Boil potatoes till mashable. Drain.  mash up with huge nob of butter and fresh, chopped spring onions and crushed garlic.

Season with crystal sea salt and lots of fresh ground black pepper. To be honest, I could eat a bowl of this on its own.

Peas

Somethings are destined to be tinned and big, fat, Marrowfat Peas, are one such item. These are peas that are left to dry out in the fields and are big and meaty.

Cooking is dead simple, since the tinned peas are already cooked really. Drain the tin and empty the peas into a heavy pan. Warm on a very low heat, adding a little butter to stop them from sticking.  You are not trying to fry these, just heat them up.  Add black pepper and a touch of salt.  You can add mint if you like and even a drop of lemon!

Stir gently so that they break up a little, but do not turn into a pureé.

And that is that!  

Combine everything together in big bowls and serve.  You can even add dough balls if you like.

Big jugs of wine like a nice burgundy are mandatory with this one. And friends should be chosen for their warmth and humour; this is for people who put their elbows on the table and cuddle up to the person next to them, not for those who sit all nice and proper being "ever-so-polite."

Comments

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