In the north, they have the advantage of being able to indulge in a lot of game during the autumn. Approximately 300,000 Swedes have hunting licenses. In total, they contribute 20,000 tonnes of wild game to the Swedish table every year. As only a certain number of animals can be killed each year thanks to decades of thoughtful wildlife management and legislation, the forests contain healthy populations of deer, wild boar and other wild animals. Most Swedish butchers sell wild meat, smoked and dried reindeer is popular too.
My cast-iron pot has come out early this year, an attempt to bring some warmth to these cold and frosty days. This casserole has been slowly cooked with root vegetables, adding carrots imparts sweetness but there is no reason why you cannot use parsnips or celeriac too. The sauce is rich and dark and the meat is succulent and just falls apart. A few pickled wild mushrooms served with the casserole gives a lovely acid to this hearty dish.
Venison Casserole with Pickled Chanterelles
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- knob of butter
- 2 Onions finely chopped
- 2 sticks Celery finely diced
- 2 medium Carrots finely diced
- 800 g Celeriac peeled and cut into 1.5cm dice
- 2 garlic cloves crushed
- 3 juniper berries
- 4 Rashers Drycure Smoked Bacon chopped
- 1.5 kg haunch or shoulder of venison diced
- 400 ml Red Wine
- 1 Tbls Tomato puree
- 400 ml Beef Stock
- 1 tbsp Redcurrant Jelly
- 3 tbls Plain Flour
- salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 2 sprigs thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- The day before cooking
- To start the dish, place the diced venison , wine, vegetables, (but not the celeriac), garlic and spices in a large, non-metallic container or dish. Tie together the herbs with string, add to the dish and cover the container. Place in the fridge to marinate for 24 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 160C. The next day, remove the venison from the dish and set aside. Carefully drain the vegetables, reserving the liquid in a separate bowl, and set to one side, I know this is a bit time consuming but well worth it as marinading the meat adds to the flavour. Add 1 tablespoon of oil and the butter to a heavy-based, ovenproof casserole dish and heat until almost smoking, then add the vegetables and bacon, cooking until nicely caramelised.
- Season the flour with freshly milled pepper and fine sea salt, dust the diced venison with the seasoned flour. In a frying pan, brown the venison a handful at a time and add to the casserole, when you are browning the final batch of venison add the tomato puree to allow it to cook slightly with the meat. Pour the red wine and stock into the casserole dish along with the redcurrant jelly, juniper berries and salt and pepper. Bring to the boil and stir well. Put the lid on the casserole and place in the middle of the oven - cook for approximately 90 minutes or until the meat is tender.
- Check the tenderness of the venison, it may need a little longer as all oven temperatures vary. If it's lovely and succulent check the seasoning and then serve.