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Game casserole

During late autumn & winter, game brings a healthy variation to meat. It is delicious to eat in hearty casseroles like this one. You can buy packets of mixed game from supermarkets or from a butcher. This recipe can be equally adapted for beef, chicken or any other meat if you are not a fan of game. This can be cooked a couple of days ahead, casseroles always taste better when cooked a day or two before serving. It can also of course be frozen and eaten at a later date.


Serves 8-10

1.5kg mixed game
200g bacon lardons
200g chestnuts
3 large leeks
75g unsalted butter
50g plain flour
300ml red wine
600ml chicken stock
4 tbsp red currant jelly
1 large orange
sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
sheet of puff pastry (optional)

Preheat oven to 160°C

Put a knob of butter and splash of olive oil in a large heavy bottomed pan and brown the meat and bacon in batches and set aside. Add a little more oil and fry the chestnuts (if using) and leeks. Sprinkle in the flour, red wine, stock and red currant jelly and add back the meat. Place the orange in the middle of the pan, whole, cover and cook for approximately 2 hours either on a low heat on the hob or in the oven. Check time to time to make sure there is enough liquid. Add the chestnuts towards the end of the cooking time. When the meat is well cooked, lift the orange out, cut in half and squeeze the juice back into the pan using a sieve. Season and check the consistency of the sauce, adding more stock if too thick, if too runny, add make a paste with a tablespoon of flour with the sauce and add back into the pan.

If you want to really impress, roll a sheet of puff pastry, cut out any shape with a large biscuit cutter or lid to a jar,  brush with beaten egg and put in the oven at 180°C for 15 minutes until puffed and golden. Serve on top of the casserole for individual ‘pies.’ These can be made ahead and kept in an airtight container.

Serve with mashed potato, some broccoli & red cabbage.

Approximate cost £26.50 (excluding cost of chestnuts) but that’s £2.65 per person coming for dinner.