Pippa’s Venison and Beetroot Stew

You may or may not know that Princess Kate’s pert bottomed little sister Pip has just published a book all about partying and the organisation thereof.

It’s from this book that I discovered Pippa’s Venison and Beetroot Stew (technically I’m pretty sure it’s a casserole since it goes in the oven but I know posh people like stew). My casserole adaptation has been a culinary triumph in the Laing house this evening. Where triumph is categorised as follows:

1. Master Laing eats it without questioning or spitting bits out and has a minor tantrum when his primitive spoon and fork skills aren’t processing dinner fast enough.

2. Mr Laing eats it and comes back for more, eating at such a rate that he forgets it’s venison and leaves the house for a late client feeling rather uncomfortable, not before posting a comment about how nice it was on Facebook.

3. Mrs Laing (aka me) is quite impressed with her kitchen efforts and wants to try it again, with no further tweaks.

So we’ve also been trialling a new local butcher having been disappointed with our local one, hence I happened to have a packet of venison in the freezer.  It’s also a great time of year to eat venison, which, according to www.eattheseasons.co.uk, has more iron than any other red meat, is packed with Omega 3 (due mainly to the varied diet of wild deer) and is lower in saturated fat than skinned chicken breast.

It’s also beetroot picking time, which is precisely what Isaac did this morning with his friend Holly in my friends’ dad’s garden in Buckhurst Hill.

So here’s my version of the recipe, which I tweaked because a) I don’t happen to have juniper berries or pink peppercorns in my cupboards; b) hubby’s not an onion fan (if you check out the original recipe there’s a significant caramelized onion content which I feel would take away from the gorgeous flavours).

Pauper’s Pippa’s Venison and Beetroot Stew 

500g casserole venison

1 large red onion

1 stick celery

2 medium fresh beetroot (peeled and chopped)

Enough butternut squash peeled and chopped to match the amount of beetroot

1tsp fresh thyme leaves (you need fresh here, dried thyme will over power everything)

Zest and juice of an orange

4 tbsp plain flour

Half a pack (approx 150g) smoked, free range, streaky bacon

3 cloves garlic

2 bay leaves

300ml red wine

200ml beef stock

salt and pepper

Method:

Start by preparing the venison. Put the flour, salt and pepper in a bowl and coat the venison in the seasoned flour. Then brown the meat over a medium heat in an ovenproof casserole and remove to a bowl.

De-glaze pan if necessary with a little of the red wine and add the chopped onion and chopped streaky bacon. Let the onion soften a little before adding the finely chopped celery. Then add garlic, thyme, bay leaves, orange zest and juice, chopped beetroot and squash.

Finally add venison, stock and remaining wine to the dish and bring to the boil. Ensure you’ve got all the goodies off the base of your dish allow to simmer and then cover the casserole and put in an oven pre-heated to Gas Mark 5, 190 degrees.

Cooking time approx. 90 minutes. Check during cooking to ensure it’s not drying out.

We served ours with broccoli, carrots and hasselback potatoes (very posh but really easy to do and so tasty). Isaac had mashed sweet potato since he’s not a roasted spuds man.

Check out the original recipe here: Pippa’s Venison and Beetroot Stew

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