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    Venison Braised in Old Peculier with Sticky Shallots and Garlic

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    Venison Braised in Old Peculier with Sticky Shallots and Garlic

    Yorkshire's wide expanse of heather-covered moors is home to a big variety of game - from grouse and pheasant to magnificent deer - so it is no surprise that game features high on northern menus in the colder months. Venison cooks to a lovely tenderness in rich, dark beer and Theakston's Black Sheep Brewery at Masham, North Yorkshire, produces an award-winning ale, Old Peculier, which fits the bill perfectly. Serve this mouthwatering braise with a creamy, mustardy potato gratin for a stunning main course.

    • Preparation time: 45 minutes
    • Cooking time: 90 minutes
    • Total time: 2 hours 15 minutes 60 minutes 60 minutes 15 minutes

    Serves: 6

    Ingredients

    • 40g pack dried forest mushrooms
    • 6 tbsp olive oil
    • 2 large onions, sliced
    • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
    • 4 tbsp plain flour
    • 1 tbsp thyme leaves
    • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
    • 1kg diced venison
    • 2 tbsp dark muscovado sugar (or to taste)
    • 500ml Theakston's Old Peculier ale
    • 300ml beef stock
    • 395g tin cherry tomatoes
    • 2 tbsp sweet soy sauce
    • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
    • Sticky shallots and garlic
    • 4-5 tbsp olive oil
    • 1 whole head garlic
    • 400g shallots, peeled
    • 2 tbsp caster sugar

    Method

    1. Cover the mushrooms in warm water and leave to soak for 30 minutes or so.
    2. Meanwhile, heat half the olive oil in a deep casserole dish and fry the onions and crushed garlic over a medium heat until soft and golden. Remove from the dish.
    3. Put the flour and thyme leaves into a plastic bag and season. Add the venison and shake to coat the meat in the seasoned flour.
    4. Preheat the oven to 190°C, gas mark 5.
    5. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in the casserole and fry 1/3 of the venison until nicely browned on all sides. Repeat twice, browning all the remaining venison. Return all the meat to the pan, along with the fried onions and garlic and stir in the muscovado sugar. Fry for 2-3 minutes more, till the sugar has melted and the venison is sticky.
    6. Stir in the Old Peculier and beef stock. Pour the tinned cherry tomatoes into a fine sieve and gently rinse to remove the juices. Add the tomatoes to the casserole. Stir in the soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce, together with the mushrooms and 100ml of their soaking liquid. Season and bring gently to the boil. Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning, checking that no extra sugar is needed; the sauce should taste rich and flavoursome, with no bitter edge. Cover and transfer to the oven. Cook for about 1½ hours, stirring half way through, or until the venison is tender and the sauce has thickened.
    7. Meanwhile, separate the head of garlic into cloves but do not peel. Put in a small roasting pan with the peeled shallots. Scatter over the caster sugar and drizzle with the oil. Roast for 40-50 minutes (in the oven with the venison), or until soft, sticky and golden.
    8. Just before serving, stir the sticky shallots and garlic (but not the oil from their pan) into the venison. Serve with mustard potatoes and plain boiled carrots. Encourage your guests to squeeze the sticky baked garlic cloves from their skin as they eat.

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