This is a rich stew that I’ve adapted from a French recipe book that concentrates on rustic country food from south west France. Because food was cooked over an open fire it was easier to have everything in one large pot hence the development of many slow-cooked braised dishes like this. Chestnuts, which pre-dated potatoes, used to be one of the most important staple foods in the area and are an important part of this dish. You can buy whole chestnuts in tins from some supermarkets and delis. I’ve used venison here but you can easily replace that with wild pork or goat. Deidre sells all three at our Market on Saturdays.
Ingredients and Method:
Marinate approx 1kg venison shoulder (cut into large cubes) in a mix of half a bottle of red wine, 150ml of olive oil, 2 chopped onions and pepper. Leave it for a few hours but preferably overnight.
The next day, heat a little oil a large casserole dish. Brown:
– 125 g pickled pork cut into small cubes – this could be a little difficult to find – try your local butcher or supermarket. The only place I found it was a Pak’n Save! Use cubed speck or pancetta as a replacement.
– 12 small onions
– 12-15 button mushrooms
Remove these from the dish and set them aside separating the mushrooms.
Take the meat from the marinade and pat it dry. Brown it in batches in the casserole adding more oil if necessary.
Add 2 finely chopped carrots, 1 finely chopped large onion and 5 cloves of crushed garlic.
Return the pork and whole onions to the dish.
Mix in 3 tbsps of flour.
Add all the marinade and top up with a bit more wine if needed to cover everything. Add a bouquet garni of fresh parsley, bay leaves and thyme.
Don’t season until the end of cooking as the pork is salty.
Cover and cook at 160oC for 2 hours.
Then add a tin of whole chestnuts and the reserved button mushrooms.
Check the seasoning and return to the oven for another 30 minutes.
Serve with a potato dish or fresh fettuccini.