Venison Casserole

This classic warming dish is perfect for dinner parties as it can be prepared in advance and reheated. Best served with creamy mash and seasonal vegetables.

Serves: 6
* 1kg (2 1/4 lb) cubed venison
* 500ml (17 fl oz) red wine
* 1 small handful juniper berries
* 1 dessertspoon peppercorns
* 2 bay leaves
* 1 to 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
* 4 medium onions, sliced
* 2 tablespoons flour
*1 teaspoon salt
* 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
* 4 medium carrots, sliced

Prep: 20 mins | Cook: 4 hours

Place the venison, red wine, juniper berries, peppercorns and bay leaves in a large bowl. Leave in the refrigerator to marinate for several hours, preferably overnight.

Heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil in a large ovenproof casserole and sauté onion until translucent.

Meanwhile, remove venison from the marinade, retaining the marinade for later use. Pat the meat dry with kitchen paper. Mix together the flour, salt and pepper and coat venison with the mixture.
Preheat oven to 140 C / Gas mark 1.

Remove onions from the casserole. Add the venison to the casserole and brown in small batches (about 6 cubes at a time). Add more oil or a knob of butter if necessary. Once meat is browned, return all of the meat and onions back to the casserole and add the chopped carrots. Pour the reserved marinade over the meat and vegetables.

Put the lid on the casserole and cook in the preheated oven for 3 to 4 hours. The casserole is ready when the meat is tender and falls apart with a fork.

Venison Meatballs

Can also be prepared in advance.

Serves: 4
* 500 g (1 lb 2 oz) minced venison
* 1 small onion, finely chopped
* 1 egg
* 3 tbsp plain flour
* 1 tbsp chopped fresh mixed herbs, such as thyme and parsley
* 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
* 340 g (12 oz) spaghetti
* salt and pepper
* shredded fresh basil to garnish
* Red wine sauce
* 1 small onion, chopped
* 1 small red pepper, seeded and chopped
* 55 g (2 oz) mushrooms, chopped
* 1 celery stick, chopped
* 1 large garlic clove, crushed
* 300 ml (10 fl oz) red wine
* 200 ml (7 fl oz) beef stock
* 1 can chopped tomatoes, about 400 g
* 1 bouquet garni

Prep: 25 mins | Cook: 40 mins

Mix together the venison, chopped onion, egg, flour and herbs until well combined. Season with salt and pepper. Divide the mixture into 28 portions. Lightly flour your hands, then roll the portions into neat balls.

Heat the olive oil in a large non-stick frying pan or flameproof casserole and fry the meatballs, rolling them gently from time to time, for 8-10 minutes or until they are browned all over. (Brown the meatballs in batches, if necessary.) Use a draining spoon to remove the meatballs from the pan and set them aside.

For the sauce, add the onion, red pepper, mushrooms, celery and garlic to the juices in the frying pan and cook for 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Pour in the red wine and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat slightly and simmer for about 5 minutes or until the liquid has reduced by half.

Add the stock, tomatoes with their juice, and the bouquet garni to the pan and bring back to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

Return the meatballs to the pan and turn them over in the sauce. Simmer gently for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti in boiling water for 10-12 minutes, or according to the packet instructions, until al dente. Drain well.

Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Discard the bouquet garni. Divide the spaghetti among 4 serving plates or bowls and top with the meatballs and sauce. Garnish with shredded basil and serve immediately.

Venison Wellington.

This is traditionally done with beef, but these individual venison wellingtons are fun for guests

Serves: 4
* 350g (12oz) plain flour
* Salt and black pepper
*175g (6oz) butter
* 4 venison steaks, about 125g (4½ oz) each
* 2 tablespoons olive oil
* 1 onion, thinly sliced
* 150g (5½ oz) wild or chestnut mushrooms, thinly sliced
* 2 teaspoons wholegrain mustard
* Milk for glazing

Prep: 20 mins | Cook: 45 mins

Heat the oven to 200°C (400°F, gas mark 6). Sift the flour into a bowl, add a pinch of salt, then rub in the butter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in enough cold water to bind to a soft, not sticky, dough. Cover and chill for 5 minutes.

Sprinkle the venison steaks with salt and pepper. Heat half the oil in a heavy or nonstick pan, add the steaks and cook quickly to brown on all sides. Remove from the pan.

Add the remaining oil and cook the onion for 2-3 minutes, then add the mushrooms and cook for a further 1-2 minutes, until soft.

Roll out the chilled pastry on a lightly floured surface and cut into four 17cm (6½ in) squares. Spread a little mustard in the middle of each square. Top each with a venison steak, then a spoonful of the onion and mushroom mixture.

Brush the edges with milk, then pull up each corner to meet in the middle, pressing the edges together to seal. Lift onto a baking sheet and brush with milk. Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce the oven to 180°C (350°F, gas mark 4) and cook for a further 10 minutes, until golden. Serve with cranberry sauce and bubble and squeak.

Halloumi and Smoked Vension

Not many people put venison and haloumi together but this is simple and tasty.

Serves: 4
* 240g halloumi cheese
* 100g Rannoch Smokery Cold Smoked Venison (can be bought in Waitrose and other delis)
* 1 ripe pear
* a few basil leaves
* 2 tablespoons olive oil
* 1 lemon, zested
* 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Prep: 10 mins | Cook: 10 mins

Cut the cheese into 12 slices.

Place a slice of pear and a basil leaf on each slice an wrap in a slice of smoked venison.

Combine the olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, some shredded basil and a good grind of black pepper in a bowl.

Brush the wrapped halloumi slices with the dressing and cook under a hot grill, turning at least once and basting as they cook.

Cook till golden and serve with lemon wedges and basil garnish.

Venison Penne

Try this on smaller plates for a starter or larger portions for a main course.

Serves: 4

* 1 packet of Rannoch Smokery Cold Smoked Venison
* 250g Penne pasta
* 125ml double cream
* 2 shallots, chopped
*150g mushrooms, wiped
* 1 garlic clove, chopped
* 2 egg yolks
* 25g Parmesan cheese
* handful flat leaf parsley

Prep: 10 mins | Cook: 10 mins

Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan. Add shallots, mushroom and garlic and fry till the shallots are cooked and golden.

Toss in strips of Rannoch Smokery Cold Smoked Venison. Take the pan off the heat.

In the meantime, cook the pasta according to the packet instructions.

Mix the cream and egg yolks in a bowl and season to taste.

Add the egg and cream mixture to the shallots and mushrooms, then toss in the drained pasta.

Add chopped parsley and stir through.

Garnish with some extra Rannoch Smokery Cold Smoked Venison and top with grated Parmesan cheese.

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