What is Mary Berry Venison Casserole?
Mary Berry’s Venison Casserole is a classic, hearty dish that features tender chunks of venison slow-cooked with a rich blend of vegetables, bacon, mushrooms, and aromatic herbs. Simmered in a red wine and stock-based sauce, and finished with a touch of redcurrant marmalade, this casserole is a perfect balance of savory and slightly sweet flavors. It’s typically garnished with fresh herbs and served with sides like new potatoes and wilted spinach.
Why You Love this Recipe
- Rich and Hearty Flavor: The combination of venison, bacon, and red wine creates a deeply savory and satisfying dish.
- Tender Meat: Slow cooking ensures the venison is wonderfully tender and absorbs the flavors of the sauce.
- Versatile: Perfect for a cozy family dinner or a special occasion.
- Aromatic: The addition of fresh herbs like rosemary or thyme enhances the dish with delightful aromas.
- Seasonal Delight: Ideal for autumn or winter when hearty meals are most appreciated.
Ingredient Needed to Make Mary Berry Venison Casserole
To make Mary Berry venison casserole, you will need the following ingredients:
- Venison: 1 kg, cut into chunks
- Olive Oil: 2 tbsp
- Butter: 25g
- Onions: 2 large, finely chopped
- Garlic: 2 cloves, minced
- Bacon: 100g, diced
- Mushrooms: 200g, quartered
- Red Wine: 250 ml
- Water: 250 ml
- Stock Cubes: 2 (beef or venison)
- Redcurrant Marmalade: 2 tbsp
- Seasoning: Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Cornstarch: 2 tbsp, mixed with water (for thickening)
- Garnishes: Fresh rosemary or thyme sprigs, and redcurrants
- Sides: New potatoes and wilted spinach
- Large casserole dish with a lid
- Skillet for browning
- Measuring utensils
- Stirring spoon or spatula
Instructions to Make Mary Berry Venison Casserole
To make To make Mary Berry venison casserole, follow these simple steps:
- Preheating: Begin by setting your oven to a moderate temperature of 150°C (300°F/Gas 2). This slow-cooking method allows the flavors to meld beautifully and the venison to become tender.
- Base Flavor Building: In the casserole dish, heat the olive oil and butter over a medium flame. Add the chopped onions, stirring occasionally, until they soften and turn translucent, being careful not to brown them. This forms the flavor base.
- Enhancing with Aromatics: Introduce minced garlic, diced bacon, and quartered mushrooms to the mix. Cook them for an additional minute to infuse their flavors. The bacon adds a depth of savory taste while the mushrooms bring an earthy element.
- Searing the Meat: In a separate skillet, sear the venison chunks in batches. This step is crucial for developing a rich flavor, as browning the meat adds a depth of taste and locks in juices.
- Combining Ingredients: Once browned, transfer the venison into the casserole dish. This melds the seared meat with the base flavors.
Assembling the Casserole
- Liquid Addition: Gently pour the red wine and water into the dish. The red wine adds acidity and a complex flavor profile.
- Flavor Concentration: Crumble in the stock cubes for a rich, meaty base, followed by the redcurrant marmalade for a hint of sweetness and tartness.
- Seasoning: Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
- Simmering: Stir the mixture well and let it simmer briefly. This step ensures that all ingredients are well combined and start to cook together.
- Slow Cooking: Cover the dish and place it in the center of the oven. Cook for 90 minutes. The slow cooking process allows the venison to become exceptionally tender and the flavors to develop fully.
Finalizing the Casserole
- Thickening the Gravy: After oven cooking, remove the casserole and prepare the cornstarch paste. Slowly stir in the cornstarch mixture to thicken the sauce to your preferred consistency.
- Final Simmer: Return the dish to the stovetop and simmer on low heat for about 5 minutes. This step is crucial for achieving a silky, rich gravy.
What Do I Serve With Mary Berry Venison Casserole
This casserole pairs beautifully with:
- New Potatoes: Their light flavor and fluffy texture complement the richness of the casserole.
- Wilted Spinach: Adds color and a nutritious element to the meal.
- Crusty Bread: Great for mopping up the delicious sauce.
- Seasonal Vegetables: Roasted or steamed vegetables like carrots or green beans work well.
- A Bold Red Wine: Enhances the flavors of the dish.
Pro Tips to Make Perfect Mary Berry Venison Casserole
- Quality Ingredients: Use high-quality venison for the best flavor and texture.
- Searing the Meat: Properly browning the venison adds depth to the dish.
- Slow Cook: Allow the casserole to cook slowly for tender meat and well-blended flavors.
- Balance Flavors: Adjust the seasoning and redcurrant marmalade to achieve a perfect balance between savory and sweet.
- Herb Selection: Use fresh herbs for a more vibrant flavor.
Variations of Mary Berry Venison Casserole
- Different Meats: Try beef or lamb as alternatives to venison.
- Wine Alternatives: Use a dark ale or stout for a different depth of flavor.
- Vegetable Variations: Add root vegetables like parsnips or turnips for added texture.
- Spice It Up: Introduce a bit of heat with a pinch of chili flakes or smoked paprika.
Storing Mary Berry Venison Casserole Leftovers
- Cool Down: Let the casserole cool to room temperature before storing.
- Airtight Container: Store in an airtight container.
- Duration: Keeps well for up to 3 days.
- Freezer-Safe Container: Use a freezer-safe container for long-term storage.
- Freeze Duration: Can be frozen for up to 3 months.
Reheating Mary Berry Venison Casserole Leftovers
- Thawing: If frozen, thaw in the refrigerator overnight.
- Oven Reheating: Reheat in an oven at a low temperature until warmed through.
- Stovetop: For a quick method, gently reheat on the stovetop over low heat. Add a splash of water or stock if the casserole seems dry.
- Microwave: Use a microwave-safe container and reheat in short bursts, stirring in between, to avoid overheating.
Nutrition Value (per serving, approximate):
- Calories: 450-550 kcal
- Protein: 35-45 g
- Carbohydrates: 15-25 g
- Fat: 20-30 g
- Saturated Fat: 8-12 g
- Fiber: 2-4 g
- Sugar: 5-10 g (depending on the amount of redcurrant marmalade used)
- Sodium: 500-700 mg (varies based on the stock cubes and added salt)
Can I substitute venison with another type of meat in this casserole?
Absolutely. While venison is the star ingredient, you can substitute it with beef or lamb. These meats also work well with the rich flavors of the casserole. Just ensure the meat is suitable for slow cooking.
Is it possible to make this casserole in a slow cooker?
Yes, this recipe adapts well to a slow cooker. Prepare and brown your ingredients as instructed, then transfer everything to the slow cooker. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours.
How can I thicken the sauce if it’s too runny after cooking?
If the sauce is too thin, mix a little more cornstarch with cold water to form a paste, then stir it into the casserole while it’s simmering on the stove. This should help thicken the sauce to the desired consistency.
What are the best wine pairings with this venison casserole?
A robust red wine like a Cabernet Sauvignon or a full-bodied Merlot pairs beautifully with the rich flavors of the venison casserole. These wines complement the hearty and savory notes of the dish.
What Are The Key Differences Between Venison Casserole And Beef Stew?
Venison casserole and beef stew are both hearty dishes, but they differ in key aspects. The primary difference lies in the meat used – venison casserole uses deer meat, which has a richer and slightly gamey flavor compared to the more mellow taste of beef used in beef stew. Venison is also leaner than beef, influencing the cooking method and texture. Additionally, venison casserole often includes a wider range of herbs and sometimes a hint of sweetness (like redcurrant marmalade), while beef stew typically sticks to more traditional savory stew flavors.
How Can You Prevent The Venison From Becoming Tough During Cooking?
To prevent venison from becoming tough, it’s important to cook it slowly and at a low temperature. Venison is a lean meat, which means it can dry out and toughen if cooked too quickly. Slow cooking allows the meat to become tender and absorb the flavors of the sauce. Marinating the venison beforehand can also help tenderize the meat.
Can You Prepare The Venison Casserole In A Slow Cooker Or Instant Pot?
Yes, venison casserole can be successfully prepared in a slow cooker or an Instant Pot. When using a slow cooker, assemble all the ingredients in the cooker and let it cook on a low setting for a longer duration (usually 6-8 hours). In an Instant Pot, you can use the sauté function for browning the meat and vegetables first, then switch to the pressure cook setting, reducing the overall cooking time.
How Do I Thicken The Sauce In The Venison Casserole?
To thicken the sauce in the venison casserole, a common method is to use a mixture of cornstarch and water, known as a slurry. Mix equal parts of cornstarch and cold water, then gradually stir it into the casserole towards the end of the cooking process. Allow the casserole to simmer for a few minutes as the sauce thickens. Alternatively, a roux made from flour and butter can also be used.
What is the Best Cut of Venison for Stew?
The best cuts of venison for stew are typically the tougher, more flavorful parts that benefit from slow cooking. Shoulder, neck, or leg cuts are ideal as they become tender and flavorful when cooked over a long period. These cuts hold up well to the stewing process, providing a satisfying texture to the dish.
How Do You Make a Casserole Taste Good?
To make a casserole taste good, focus on building layers of flavor. Start by properly browning the meat and sautéing the vegetables to develop depth. Use a rich stock as the base of your sauce, and don’t be shy with herbs and seasonings. A splash of wine or a dollop of tomato paste can add complexity. Finally, taste and adjust the seasoning before serving, and consider a fresh herb or a squeeze of lemon for brightness.