“This recipe is a bit of a family favourite. To my mind, it is a perfect midweek supper, so when you have a bit of spare time make and freeze a batch, ready for a rainy day. I always enjoy cooking this dish with lovely root vegetables and apple, as the combination is unbeatable with the venison sausages. I also often serve this with a bowl of tagliatelle.”
8 venison sausages
50g smoked lardons
200g celeriac, peeled and chopped
100g leeks, trimmed, chopped and rinsed
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 celery sticks, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 tbsp tomato purée
30g plain flour
250ml full-bodied red wine
5 juniper berries, crushed
250ml game stock or beef stock
1 bouquet garni
2 green apples
200g cooked chestnuts, halved
hot tagliatelle to serve (optional)
Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
• Heat a flameproof casserole over a medium-high heat, then add a good splash of oil. When it is hot, add the sausages and stir for 3 minutes, or until they are well coloured all over, then remove from the casserole and set aside.
• Add a splash more oil to the casserole, if necessary, then add the lardons and sauté until they have rendered their fat and are well coloured. Add the celeriac, leeks, carrots, celery, onion and tomato purée, and continue sautéing for a further 1–2 minutes. Sprinkle in the flour and stir for 1 minute to cook out the raw flavour.
• Add the wine and juniper berries, stirring to deglaze the pan, and boil until the wine reduces by half. Add the stock and bouquet garni, then return the sausages and any accumulated cooking juices to the casserole. Cover the casserole and leave to simmer over a medium heat for 20 minutes, or until all the vegetables are tender and the flavours blended.
• Meanwhile, halve, core and chop the green apples.
• Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper, if necessary, then stir in the chestnuts and apples and warm through. Serve with fresh tagliatelle flavoured with freshly cracked black pepper.
Extract taken from Tom Kitchin’s Meat & Game by Tom Kitchin (Absolute Press, £26) – Photography © Marc Millar