Tuesday 6 January 2015

Venison and red wine slow cooker casserole

January can be an awful month. The excitement of Christmas is behind us. Gone are the bright, colourful lights to be replaced with cold, dark days. What's needed is warm and hearty comfort food. We had this venison and red wine slow cooker casserole on New Year's Day as part of a dinner party. Slow cooker meals are perfect for meals with multiple courses as all the work is done in advance and there are no problems with timings.
I chose venison as it is at its best in winter and is suitably impressive for a dinner party. It can be quite tricky to get hold of but I took a trip over to the Chatsworth Estate Farm Shop in the Peak District. Yes it is posh and yes many of the items are expensive but with certain things buying local really does pay off. In the past I have bought half lamb packs for a fraction of the price you would pay in the supermarket. The venison they sell in the shop comes from the Chatsworth Estate land surrounding the shop. It was cheaper per kilo than my local supermarket and I knew it hadn't travelled far. The supermarket vacuum packed venison stated that some meat may come from New Zealand.

If you are doing 'Dry January' or simply don't drink at all don't worry about the wine content in this recipe. I used the alcohol-free Eisberg Cabernet Sauvignon which did the job just as well as standard wine.

Do bear in mind that this is not just a slow cooker meal but also one that needs slow marinating. Start to prepare the dish at least a day in advance. Venison is a very lean meat but it does mean it needs tenderising beforehand. The best way to do this is to let it marinate for at least 12-24 hours before it goes into the slow cooker.

Serves 6-8
Equipment: Large bowl, frying pan, slow cooker/Crockpot


For the marinade

2lb (1kg) Diced vension
½ pint (280ml) Red wine
1 Large onion, sliced
Bay leaf
1 tbsp (15ml) Fresh parsley, torn
1 tsp (5ml) Allspice

1 tbsp (15ml) Oil
2 tbsp (30ml) Plain flour
4oz (115g) Smoked bacon
8 Baby onions/shallots
½ Swede, chopped
3½oz (100g) Chestnut mushrooms
½ pint (280g) Beef stock
2 tbsp (30ml) Dark fruit jelly such as blackberry or damson
Cinnamon stick, halved
1 tsp (5ml) Dried juniper berries (optional)


1. In a large bowl add all the ingredients for the marinade. Mix together and then cover and place in the fridge for at least twelve hours.
2. Remove the venison marinade from the fridge. Drain off the venison leaving behind the liquid.
3. Heat the oil in the frying pan and then add the flour and the venison pieces. Cook until the venison has been sealed.
4. Remove from the pan and set aside.
5. In the remaining oil fry off the onion from the marinade and the bacon.
6. When the onion has started to soft add to the slow cooker along with all the other ingredients including the marinade.
7. Cook on low for 6-8 hours

Linking with Simple and in Season with Ren Behan and guest host Sarah at Maison Cupcake; Shop Local Challenge at Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary; #CookBlogShare with Lucy at Supergolden Bakes.

Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary


  1. I absolutely love the look of that market place - I could spend ages browsing and would probably want to try absolutely everything! What a gorgeous hearty recipe too, perfect for these never ending long, dark days. Thank you for sharing with the #ShopLocalChallenge

    1. It's a really shop and so well stocked. There's of course the meat counter plus fish, bakery, fruit and vegetables, deli and cheese counter. So much tempting stuff!

  2. Mmmm I love venison stew! You are right it is much better to shop locally at markets... although my nearest proper one is Borough Market and it is pricey! Love the sounds of this stew, my slow cooker has had a lot of use lately! Thanks for linking to #CookBlogShare

    1. I do love Borough Market but it has now become a foodie destination rather than somewhere you can do a regular shop. Oh to be a celebrity chef!

  3. I love venison as it is so lean and good for you. Stumbling you lush recipe.

    1. It is a lovely lean meat. Thanks for the Stumble!

  4. Mmmmm, I know I would love this, thanks for sharing :)

    1. It was delicious and just perfect for these cold days.

  5. Sounds just heavenly, I would love to try this. #CookBlogShare

    1. If you can get hold of some venison you must give it a go!

  6. Ooohhhhh..... This sounds very very tempting. Love venison! I got a slow cooker for Xmas!!!!! Have bookmarked. Thanks for sharing x

    1. Welcome to the wonderful world of slow cooking! It will change the way you cook!

  7. I absolutely love venison and those soft sweet carrots look fantastic. Thanks for your Simple and In Season entry, round up now up at http://maisoncupcake.com/winter-sustenance-simple-season-january-round/ :)


I appreciate your comments. If you have any tips, tricks or tweaks please pass them on!