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Venison casserole

1 tbsp olive oil
25g butter
2 onions, diced
4 garlic cloves, crushed
4 rashers smoked bacon, chopped
500g chestnut mushrooms,halved
2.5kg haunch or shoulder of venison, diced
½ bottle red wine
400ml water
2 beef stock cubes, crumbled
3 tbsp redcurrant jelly
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
50g cornflour
Punnet redcurrants to decorate
6 sprigs rosemary or thyme to decorate
New potatoes to serve
Wilted spinach to serve

1. Preheat the oven to 150C.
2. On the hob, heat the olive oil and butter in a large lidded casserole dish. Add the onions and cook until softened, but not browned.
3. Add the garlic, bacon and mushrooms, and cook for a further minute.
4. In a frying pan, brown the venison a handful at a time and add to the casserole. When all the meat is browned, add the red wine, water, stock cubes, redcurrant jelly, salt and pepper.
5. Bring to the boil and stir well. Put the lid on the casserole and place in the middle of the oven – cook for 90 minutes.
6. Remove from the oven. Make a paste with the cornflour and two tablespoons of water. Add as much of the paste to the casserole as is necessary to thicken the sauce – add a little at a time if you are not sure how much you will need.
7. Transfer the casserole to the hob, and on a low heat, cook until the gravy has thickened – this will take about 5 minutes.
8. Serve with new potatoes and wilted spinach. Decorate each plate with a sprig of rosemary or thyme, and a bunch of fresh redcurrants.

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