I sampled this in Fortnum and Mason back in September. (Dining in Fortum and Mason is not a frequent occurrence, this trip occurred to take my mummy out for lunch to celebrate my first pay packet from a proper job). Since this trip I have been desiring to make it, and when Tesco had two venison steaks for £1.24 instead of £5.99 I thought the time had come. Google gave me several recipe ideas, but they were all so different from each other I just had to go my own way, so here I proudly present my recipe for venison ragu. Beware - this is not a quick recipe, preparation takes around 30 minutes, and then the ragu needs to spend 1.5-2 hours in the oven.
1-2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion
3 sticks of celery
About 3-4 inches of Saucisson Sec Superieur a l'ancienne (a good handful of bacon lardons would substitute perfectly, I just happened to have this sausage as it was 99p instead of £4.49)
2 cloves of garlic
10 capers (ish, about what came out on a heaped teaspoon, counting capers is not one of my pastimes)
a sprig of rosemary
2 anchovy fillets
250g venison steaks
3-4 heaped tbsp of plain flour
1tsp dried oregano
1tsp dried rosemary
salt and pepper
half a tube of tomato puree
2 bay leaves
250ml red wine
300ml stock (I cheated and used Marigold bouillon powder since there was no stock in the freezer)
1. Preheat oven to 160 C.
2. Take an ovenproof and flameproof casserole dish with a lid (a Le Creuset pan is ideal), and slug about 2 tbsp of olive oil in. Place over a low-medium heat.
3. Chop onions, carrots and celery into small dice (<0.5cm square). As each item is chopped, put it in the pan and give it a good stir. (For those who like posh cookery words, this is your mirepoix)
5. Skin and finely mince the garlic. Add to pan. Stir.
6. Pull the leaves of the fresh rosemary off the stalk. Discard stalk and any woody bits. Chop finely. Add to pan. Stir.
7. Finely chop the anchovy fillets and the capers. Add to pan. Stir and leave to cook gently.
8. Put the flour, dried rosemary, dried oregano, about 1 tsp salt and plenty of freshly ground black pepper into a bowl and stir to combine. Chop the venison into 2-3cm dice, then toss them in the seasoned flour until they are thoroughly coated.
9. Add the venison, and the rest of the seasoned flour to the pan. Brown off the venison.
10. Add the tomato puree, the wine, the stock and the bay leaves to the pan, stir well but gently so as to not break up the bay leaves.
11. Bring the ragu to the boil, then cover and put into the oven. Cook in the oven for one and a half to two hours until the sauce is thick and the meat is tender.