Highland Casserole & Clapshot - A Recipe Suitable For Aga Range Cookers

 

Venison is a delicious, lean meat which lends itself brilliantly to slow-cooking in an Aga range cooker simmering oven. The meat becomes meltingly tender and combined with the flavours of juniper, thyme and red wine, this makes for a wonderfully satisfying autumnal or winter dish. The bramble jelly adds a welcome touch of sweetness but if you can’t get this, redcurrant jelly works well too!

You may need...

Ingredients...

  • Olive oil
  • Knob of butter
  • 900g diced venison
  • 2 onions
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 sticks celery
  • 200g smoked bacon lardons
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 6 juniper berries
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 tbsp. plain flour
  • 300ml robust red wine
  • 2 heaped tbsp. bramble jelly
  • 200ml beef stock
  • Chopped fresh parsley to serve

Right, lets get cooking!

  1. Heat a large glug of oil in a casserole dish on the floor of the roasting oven. Brown the venison in small batches and set to one side. I do this on the floor of the roasting oven, but you can use the hotplates if you prefer.
  2. Whilst the meat is browning, prepare the vegetables. Chop the onions, cut the carrots into large chunks and slice the celery into 1cm pieces. Once the meat is browned, add a little more oil and butter to the pan and add the vegetables and smoked bacon. Return to the floor of the simmering oven, stirring occasionally until the bacon is a little brown and the vegetables softened (approximately 5 minutes).
  3. Finely chop the thyme and rosemary leaves and lightly crush the juniper berries. Move the casserole dish from the oven to the simmering plate and add the crushed garlic, thyme, rosemary, juniper berries and bay leaves. Stir and cook for a minute.
  4. Return the venison to the casserole dish and sprinkle over the flour, stirring to coat the meat and vegetables. Add the red wine and bramble jelly and bubble for a few minutes, scraping any crusty parts from the bottom of the dish as you go. If not bubbling sufficiently, you may need to move to the boiling plate briefly.
  5. Add the stock and season with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil. Place the lid on the casserole dish and transfer to the simmering oven for a minimum of 3 hours.
  6. When you are ready to eat, remove the casserole from the oven and adjust the seasoning to taste. Sprinkle with fresh parsley and serve.

    Antonia's tips for cooking this in your Aga range cooker - 

    Venison benefits from long, slow cooking. After three hours, the meat should be falling apart and perfectly tender. The heat of the simmering oven is so gentle though that you can leave the casserole to cook for much longer if required, without it drying out. I often prepare casseroles in the morning and let them cook gently all day, ready to serve in the evening. 

    Casseroles lose very little liquid during cooking. When following conventional recipes, you may find you need to reduce the amount of stock/liquid when cooking in the Aga range cooker. If you find you have too much liquid or the gravy is too thin, simply remove the lid and reduce the liquid with a quick bubble on the boiling plate or the floor of the roasting oven.

    Clapshot

    Clapshot is a traditional Scottish side dish combining ‘neeps and tatties’ with butter and chives. In England ‘neeps’ are known as swede and both the potatoes and swede can be cooked in the simmering oven, using the method below.

    Serves 6

    Ingredients...

    • 1 swede
    • 750g floury potatoes
    • 25g butter
    • 3-5 tbsp. milk
    • 2 tbsp freshly chopped chives

    You may need...

    Right, lets get cooking!

    1. Peel and dice the swede into 1cm cubes. Peel and quarter the potatoes. Place in a large ovenproof saucepan and cover with cold water.
    2. Bring the vegetables to the boil on the boiling plate and bubble for 4-5 minutes. Drain all the water from the pan, put the lid on and transfer to the floor of the simmering oven. Leave for 25-30 minutes – they should be perfectly tender.
    3. Mash the potatoes and swede thoroughly with the butter, milk and chives. 


    Antonia's tips for cooking this in your Aga range cooker - 

    Swede takes longer to cook than potatoes. If you want to cook them in the same pan, it is important to cut the swede into small dice and keep the potatoes in much large chunks. 

    All root vegetables can be cooked using this method – the lids can stay down, preserving heat in the ovens and you have no pans bubbling over on top to worry about! Try carrots and celeriac too. You do not need to be precise about timings as they will ‘hold’ in the simmering oven for quite some time without becoming overcooked.

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    This nourishing recipe has been scribed and tested by community member Antonia, who is a hard working mum with two boys. Her recipes are trialed in her much loved Aga range cooker and devoured by her family, allowing Antonia to provide accurate tips and advice on how to make the dishes a success! Go check her work out!  She is a country girl, happily surrounded by an excitable Lab, her dear husband, two boys and the Cotswolds.