Venison & Ale CasseroleThis is done in a slow cooker but if you don’t have one, you could transfer the casserole dish in the oven at 160 centigrade, 140 fan for about 4 hours or so. The slow cooker is a lifesaver for me especially during the week – ten minutes prep before bed and dinner is pretty much done when I get home. We ate this with rice and green veg, but it’s equally good as a pie filling with a nice crisp crust to it.
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
650g cubed venison
1 large onion, diced
2 large carrots, diced
6 whole unpeeled garlic cloves
500ml good brown ale
2 stalks thyme
1 tsp runny honey
2 tablespoons plain flour
1tsp balsamic vinegar
Heat the oil in a large frying pan and brown the meat all over. With a slotted spoon, transfer it to the slow cooker, leaving the juices in the pan.
Fry the onion, carrots and garlic cloves in the juices until the onions have softened. Add half the brown ale to the pan, stir well and then pour this over the meat. This step also really helps with the washing-up!
Pour the rest of the ale into the slow cooker and add the thyme and runny honey. Season with a good pinch of salt and some freshly ground black pepper, then stir and forget about it on a low setting.
When you’re just about ready for dinner and have got your mash, rice or vegetables ready, melt the butter in the microwave or a pan. Stir in the flour and add this mixture to the casserole, stirring briskly to avoid lumps. Add the balsamic vinegar just before serving.
If you want to make this into a pie you’ll need 500g of shortcrust pastry, and I would let the filling go cold before you assemble your pie. Cook it on a preheated oven sheet to help avoid a soggy bottom, oven temp 200 centigrade, 180 fan.
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