Game for venison? A simple warming slow-cooked stew

JP McMahon: We’re nearing the end of the venison season. Try it before it comes to a close

 Venison meat can be treated similarly to beef or lamb, and its tenderness resides somewhere between the two. Photograph: iStock

Venison meat can be treated similarly to beef or lamb, and its tenderness resides somewhere between the two. Photograph: iStock

 

In Ireland in recent years, there seems to be increased interest in wild game, particularly venison and wild duck. Perhaps its expanded availability in shops around the country has created a greater desire among consumers to engage with this underappreciated aspect of our culinary history?

I’ve often thought our rejection of venison arises from our ambiguous relationship with our Anglo-Irish past, which would have upheld the tradition of eating game in this country. I didn’t grow up hunting deer, nor did I know anyone who did. But that is not to say there wasn’t a rich tradition of doing so on this island. With the arrival of independence, we threw the culinary baby out with the British bathwater – and were much the worse for it in many respects.

Recipes for deer date back hundreds of years and the cooking of the animal dates back millennia. As we’re nearing the end of the venison season, it’s worthwhile eating it before the season comes to a close.

Venison meat can be treated similarly to beef or lamb, and its tenderness resides somewhere between the two. Shoulders and legs are good for roasting or stewing, while the loin and fillet pan-fry extremely well with a little butter and thyme. As with other game, venison works well with fruit and nuts, such as plums and pine nuts. A handful of each added to your stew towards the end of its cooking time will make all the difference.

A simple venison stew

Fry one diced onion in 50g of butter with a teaspoon of cumin powder and four crushed cloves of garlic. Add two chopped carrots with a kilo of diced venison leg or shoulder. Season with sea salt and a few herbs.

After 10 minutes, add a tin of chopped tomatoes and enough beef stock to cover the meat. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for two to three hours.

Add a handful of toasted pine nuts and four plums which have been stoned and quartered, for the final 15 minutes of cooking time.

Finish with some chopped flat-leaf parsley and some freshly cracked black pepper.

The stew freezes well and will keep for two to three days in the fridge. 

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.