This recipe is adapted from Nigel Slater’s Cow Crumble recipe which featured on ‘Nigel and Adam’s Farm Kitchen’ television show. However while Nigel used beef and potatoes, we used local Northumberland Estates Fallow Deer Venison and celeriac instead. Although we’ve made it using the bone standing up in the centre method, we’ve also made it without the bone, and this version doesn’t have the bone included.
Venison is seriously good meat, low in fat and full of flavour. Make sure you go for wild venison if possible rather than farmed venison. There shouldn’t be anything wrong with the farmed venison, but we’d opt for wild every time given the opportunity. If you’ve tried it before and it seemed too ‘gamey’ don’t let that put you off, as it shouldn’t be. Well butchered, fresh venison should be delightful, its very lean, rich in iron and full of B vitamins. If you are looking for somewhere to buy your game, look for local traditional butchers or game dealers, rather than supermarkets.
This is a great recipe for feeding a lot of people a hearty warm and filling meal. We had this last Christmas on Boxing Day following the annual family clay pigeon shoot in the paddock, it was lovely to come into after being out in the cold for a few hours.
Nigel’s version was enough for 8 people, this one feeds 4-6 easily.
- 2 tbsp olive oil,
- 1 KG venison diced,
- 500ml beef stock,
- 2 carrots, roughly chopped,
- 2 celery sticks, roughly chopped,
- 1 white onion, roughly chopped
- 2 tbsp plain flour,
- salt and freshly ground black pepper,
- 4 sprigs of thyme or 1/2 tsp dried thyme,
- 1 bay leaf
For the crumble:
- 1/2 a large celeriac,
- 2 large parsnips,
- knob of butter,
- 1 tbsp black mustard seeds
If you are using a conventional oven you’ll need to preheat it to 160C/325F/Gas 3.
Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in an oven proof dish and then brown the venison on a fairly high heat. Do this in batches so that all the venison gets browned more easily. Put each completed batch into a separate bowl to one side.
Add a few ladles of stock to the dish and scrape the caramelised sediment from the dish and pour this into the bowl alongside the browned venison.
Add a further tablespoon of olive oil to the dish and heat it through, then soften the chopped carrots, celery and onion.
At this point add the venison back into the dish and scatter the flour across the dish. Let this cook for a couple of minutes before pouring over enough stock to almost but not quite cover the meat. Season with salt and pepper and mix well. Let this cook for a few minutes.
Add the herbs; thyme and bay, and leave the dish to simmer on a low heat while you prepare the crumble. We move this to the baking oven of the AGA at this point and allow it to cook for 1 1/2 hours. This gives you plenty of time to prepare the crumble.
To make the crumble, peel the celeriac and the parsnips and grate them. It’s easier and faster to use a food processor to do this if you have one.
In a separate pan, melt the knob of butter (Nigel uses a good amount of butter but we like a bit less, you may find you prefer more) with the black mustard seeds.
Now add the grated celeriac and parsnip to the pan with the butter and mustard seeds and mix it up well. You want an even coating of the mustard seeds across the vegetables.
After the venison stew has cooked for an hour and a half, remove it from the oven and spread your celeriac and parsnip crumble mix over the top of the venison stew. If you are using a conventional oven, Nigel recommends leaving the dish uncovered for the final hour. With an AGA we’d recommend that you cover the dish with foil and put it back in the baking oven for another 1/2 hour. At this point remove the foil and put the dish back into the roasting oven for a final half hour to brown and crisp up nicely.