Saturday, 17 September 2016

Game stew

Now autumn feels like it's properly here.  I love summer but the first flushes of autumn with stews, pies, traditional puddings are like the coziness of coming home.  Autumn, season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, at the end moving into winter, the crisp cold, maybe snow.  The older I get the more I look forward to every season and everything it brings.

The dried mushrooms in this massively add to the flavour.  Without them, it wouldn't be the same, it wouldn't have the depth of flavour so I really would give it a go.

This was going to be a game pie and it would be fabulous to make into a pie filling if you prefer.  I was just too lazy and my son liked the smell of it so he wanted to taste it straight away (it was a hit with the 6 year old too!)

Game Stew - Makes 2-3 portions, reheats well (or can be made into a pie)


350g, 12oz Mixed game; mine was a mix of pheasant and venison
10g, 1/3oz Dried porcini mushrooms
1 Onion
50g, 1.5oz Butter
1 Large clove garlic
2 Dried bay leaves
200ml, 7 floz White wine
150g, 5oz Mushrooms
1 tsp cornflour (cornstarch)
A few sprigs fresh thyme


Soak the dried mushrooms in just boiled water for 10 minutes.  In the meantime, switch on a slow cooker to high.

Heat a frying pan and a third of the butter, slowly fry the chopped onion until softening and browning a little.  Add in the chopped garlic for a minute or so then put into the slow cooker with the two bay leaves and the soaked porcini with the soaking liquid.

Deglaze the frying pan with 100ml, 3 floz of water and pour into the slow cooker.  Heat the pan again and add in a second third of the butter.  Fry the game until browned (this is for flavour development due to the Maillard reaction) then add to the slow cooker.  Deglaze with the wine, bubble well then add to the slow cooker.

Cook on high until all of the mix is bubbling well then switch down to low for approx 4 hours or until everything is tender.

When cooked, if your slow cooker is hot enough on high heat to thicken cornflour, turn to high, mix the cornflour with a little cold water to make a paste and when bubbling, add the cornflour mix.  Alternatively do on the hob.  While the stew is thickening, fry the sliced fresh mushrooms in the remaining butter and add to the stew with the thyme leaves.  Warm through until the fresh mushrooms are fully cooked, add a little seasoning to taste and serve.

I've never seen my son eat a stew so quickly.  He loved it.  What's more despite all the naughty butter I'm using here, that is over 3 portions and game meat itself is very lean and full of iron.  The mushrooms also help contribute to your 5 a day.

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