March 19th, 2010

Venison Shank and Chestnut Mushroom Suet Pudding

We are nearing the end of the game season and the last of the game still available is venison and wood pigeon. I’m excited that spring is upon us and even more excited about summer approaching however I am quite sad that I will have to wait nearly another 6 months before cooking game again.

I was spurred on to cook  venison after deciding to collaborate with Polly Robinson from Food Safari by hosting the cooking demonstration on the 28th at the Wild Meat in a Day Food Safari event. I’m truly excited and in my well known fashion cannot stop thinking about the various wonderful venison recipes.

I cannot believe how fast the time is passing by, just the other day I wrote a few posts about visiting Great Garnets Farmers market. Last Saturday I made another trip to Great Garnets with a vision to find more wonderful local produce.

I was not disappointed and to my sheer delight I ended up chatting away to Sue and Jack Friedlein from White House Farm, Maldon. They gave up their dairy farm to rear venison and it was plain to see that Sue was butchering the meat as it definitely had the woman’s touch as it was immaculately tidy, very well presented and neatly butchered.

I felt very guilty walking away with a bag filled to the brim with glorious venison cuts for a very reasonable price. I did kick myself afterwords for not buying the kidneys too. Whilst tucking into this delicious venison shank and chestnut mushroom suet pudding,  I realised that the kidneys would have made a superb addition to this recipe.

This dish takes time and a lot of patience to prepare but my theory is that if you have the time, the ingredients and a good bottle of wine why not give this delicious recipe a go. I could not believe my eyes  at the volume of flaked meat I obtained from the cooked shank. Venison is a healthy meat and  there is hardly any fat but it calls for a lot of control and patience because if you are in a hurry and cook the meat too fast you will end up with a very dry and near inedible result. I made 6 individual suet puddings with one venison shank and I would rather not say how little I paid for it. Even though I spend a lot of hours cooking  my conclusion is that this dish is certainly worth the effort.

The suet pastry is easy to make and the golden rule is to work quickly with light fingers and do not knead the pastry. Push it all together and put it in the fridge to rest, this way your suet puddings will be light and easy digestible. The other golden tip is in the steaming time, I steamed these puddings  for an hour and they came out super light and delicious.

I raise my glass to Polly and thank her for encouraging me to dream up more delicious venison recipes….

….watch this space as there are a few more to follow soon.

In the mean time try these mouth watering recipes…..

Venison and Mushroom Filling and Sauce

  • 700g venison shank (one large shank would be enough)
  • 50g plain flour
  • 2tbs sunflower oil
  • 2 carrots
  • 1/2 leek
  • 1 onion, peeled
  • 2 stocks of celery
  • 30g tomato puree
  • 3 in number juniper berries, crushed
  • 1 clove of garlic crushed
  • 1/2 tsp coriander seeds, crushed
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 160ml Port Wine
  • 1L chicken stock
  • Sprig of rosemary
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 150g chestnut mushrooms cut in 1/4's
  • 30g unsalted butter
  • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1tbs chopped continental parsley
  • 1tbs chopped chives
  • 1tsp sherry vinegar

Preheat the oven to  160°C.

Pat the venison shank dry with kitchen paper, season the flour with salt and pepper and coat the  shank in the flour.

Wash and cut the leek, onion, celery and carrots all the same size, drain well.

Heat the oil in a large oven safe casserole dish  and saute the shank until golden brown all over, remove from the casserole dish, set aside and return the casserole dish to the heat.

Saute the carrot, onion, leek and celery until golden brown, add the tomato puree, the remaining flour left over from the dusting, sugar, crushed coriander and juniper berries. Cook for 5 minutes over low heat, deglaze the dish with the port wine and cook until the Port is absorbed by the vegetables and becomes thick and sticky, return the venison shank to the dish.

Add the stock, rosemary and bay leaf, cover the dish with a lid and bring the stock to the boil.

Place the casserole dish covered with a lid in the preheated oven for 2 1/2 hours.

Once cooked, remove the dish from the oven and leave for 10 minutes to cool slightly. Remove the meat, set aside and pass the sauce through a fine sieve into a small saucepan.

Bring the sauce to a gentle simmer and reduce until thick and coating, reduce by half the original measure.

Remove the bone and sinew and flake the cooked venison meat.

Heat a medium frying pan with the butter and saute the chestnut mushroom quarters seasoned with salt and pepper until golden brown. Transfer the cooked mushrooms to a large mixing bowl.

Add the flaked venison shank about (350g) , 200ml of  the reduced sauce , the chopped parsley and chives, mix well. Set aside to cool while lining the pie dishes.

Add the sherry vinegar to the rest of the sauce and set aside to serve with the steamed suet puddings.

Suet pastry

  • 400g self raising flour
  • 200g beef or vegetable suet
  • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • Ice cold water

Weigh the flour and suet into a large mixing bowl, add seasoning and mix well.

Add a tablespoon of ice cold water at a time and mix until the pastry forms an easy to handle dough, I started with 6 tbs of ice cold water and then added a bit at a time until it was easy to handle. Do not over work the mixture as your pastry will be heavy and claggy, work quickly with light fingers.

If you prefer use a mixer; take extra care not to over work the suet pastry.

Once the pastry comes together and forms a ball, wrap the pastry in clingfilm and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Lightly grease  6 - 5cm high x 7.5cm wide pudding basins with sunflower oil.

On a lightly floured work surface roll the pastry 3 - 4mm thick and line the pudding basins with the suet pastry.

Fill each dish with 110g of well mixed pie filling, divide the liquid evenly between the puddings, dampen the rim with cold water and cover each pudding with a suet pastry lid, crimp and make a large steam hole in the center of the lid with a metal skewer.

Steam the puddings for 1 hour, turn the puddings out onto warm serving plates.

How to steam: I used the thermomix to steam these puddings. Fill the jug with 1L of water, secure the lid and place the steamer basket on top, place the puddings inside and cover with he lid. Set the timer for 60 minutes at Veroma, speed 3. If you do not have  a thermomix then use a saucepan with a steamer compartment, half fill the pan with water, place the puddings in the steamer compartment and place a lid on top, bring the water to the boil, reduce heat to a gentle simmer and steam the puddings for 1 hour.

Bring the sauce back to the boil and spoon a generous amount of sauce over each pudding, serve with cooked green beans.

Serves 6

Food Fanatics Tips

If you like kidneys: dice two venison kidneys into 2cm pieces and saute them at the same time as the mushrooms, for about 3 minutes. Do not over cook the kidney as it goes rubbery, drain the mixture in a colander and add the sauteed  kidneys and mushrooms to the cooked venison shank mixture.

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13 Comments to “Venison Shank and Chestnut Mushroom Suet Pudding”

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  1. Vicki says:

    This is lovely.
    We were having a winter dinner for friends, with a chestnut and pedro ximenez theme, so I threw in some chestnuts as well, and used the sherry instead of wine, truly fabulous.
    Thanks for a lovely recipe.

  2. Dan says:

    Made this last night and it was wonderful. Wasn’t able to get the shank, just the boneless leg meat. I found I didn’t have to reduce the sauce, as it had thickened nicely with the flour & slow cooking. Wish I’d used more juniper, as it’s a flavour I love and it wasn’t pronounced enough for my tastes. If you’re cooking one large pudding instead of individual puddings, you’ll probably need much longer than onehour of steaming…I think mine had been steaming for nigh on a couple of hours & the top of the pastry still wasn’t cooked. So I scraped it off and spooned right from the bowl. I served my pudding with potatoes roasted in duck fat, together with some baby leeks that I par-boiled & finished cooking in a bit of butter. Will definitely make this again some time. Thank you for the recipe!

  3. Ben says:

    cooked this last night, it was unreal. steaming the pudding was a new thing for me, wasn’t quite what sure to expect, so i baked 2, and steamed 2. I have to say the steamed version was very good.

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