A robust, richly flavoured casserole is comforting in the dark, cold days of mid-winter. This casserole can be made with venison or beef, according to preference.
Venison in red wine
12 oz (approx 350 g) stewing venison
4 oz (approx 100 g) smoked streaky bacon
Half an onion
1 garlic clove
1 Tablespoon (1 x 15 ml spoon) plain flour
Approx 4 fl. oz. (approx 100 ml) red wine
0.25 pint (approx 150 ml) water
1 teaspoon (1 x 5 ml spoon) redcurrant jelly
1 teaspoon (1 x 5 ml spoon) dried rosemary
4 oz (approx 100 g) self-raising flour
2 oz (approx 50 g) suet
1 teaspoon (1 x 5 ml spoon) sage, or other herbs of choice
Cut the venison into cubes about half an inch (approx 1.5 cm) in size. Chop the bacon.
Peel and chop the onion.
Fry the venison and bacon in cooking oil in a heatproof casserole over a medium to high heat until browned.
Add the onion and crushed garlic and fry another minute or two until the onion starts to colour.
Stir in the flour and mix well to coat the meat.
Pour in the wine and water. Bring to the boil, stirring all the time.
Stir in the redcurrant jelly and dried rosemary. Season with salt and pepper.
Cover the casserole and cook in a moderate oven about 170 C for about one hour while you make the dumplings.
To make the dumplings, mix the self-raising flour, suet and sage in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper.
Gradually add sufficient cold water to mix to a soft dough. If the mix is floury, add a little more water; if sticky, you have added too much water, so add a bit more flour.
Divide the dough into 8 pieces and roll into balls.
Add the dumplings to the casserole.
Return the casserole to the oven for a further half an hour (one and a half hours in total), by which time the dumplings will have swelled up and cooked through.
Serve with jacket potatoes and vegetables of choice.
The casserole can be frozen without the dumplings