People are often confused about the different seasons for different types of game, and, for that matter, why these seasons are in place. It is really all about allowing animals and birds to breed successfully, preserving stocks and ensuring that farms are not over-run with pests or vermin. That is why rabbits and pigeons can be culled at any time of year, to prevent their becoming a nuisance, devouring crops, and there are strict seasons for red deer and roe deer.
But the good news for those who enjoy venison is that red deer stags and roe deer bucks are back in season from 1st August and so we shall have venison for sale at Top Meadow Farm. And here is a simple recipe for a delicious venison casserole using seasonal vegetables :
Roughly chop two medium onions and fry in a little oil until golden and place in the casserole. Dust 800 gm. of Top Meadow Farm venison with flour and fry until lightly browned, together with 200 gm. smoked bacon or belly pork and add all this to the casserole. Raise the juices and flour in the pan with half a bottle of red wine and pour this into the casserole, together with four chopped stalks of celery, 400 gm. chopped carrots and 250 gm. button mushrooms. Season with pepper, two crushed cloves of garlic, bay leaves, mace and a bunch of thyme or some dried thyme. Top up the casserole with beef stock to ensure all is covered and add further stock during cooking as necessary.
Cook in a slow oven for two hours or so until the meat is soft and starting to break up.
Check seasoning, adding salt if necessary, and remove the bunch of thyme and bay leaves before serving.
Serve this delicious and aromatic venison casserole with mashed potato, thinly sliced runner beans or spring cabbage, red currant or rowan jelly on the side, and, of course, the rest of that bottle of red wine!