Are you feeling brave to cook something a little different? Well, how about this wonderful, rolled Venison neck — given the right treatment, it really is a treat.
Venison neck is the perfect cut for this slow and gentle braise that sings of the joys of Autumn. The sweetness of the cider and chestnuts contrast perfectly with the rich, almost iron-y flavour of the venison, all given a little helping hand with smoked bacon!
Braised venison shoulder, chestnuts, bacon & cider w/ crushed celeriac
5 banana shallots, peeled and chopped, horizontally, into three
5 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
3 sticks of celery, chopped into chunks
6 fresh bay leaves
3 sprigs of fresh sage
2 tbsp plain flour
400ml dry cider
500ml homemade chicken stock
- For the celeriac
2 sprigs of fresh thyme
- Preheat your oven to 180°C.
- Score the chestnuts with a little cross and place them on a baking tray in the oven for 12 minutes. After 12 minutes, remove from the oven and leave aside to cool.
- Find a pan or casserole pot that has a lid that fits. Place on the stove on a medium heat and add the bacon lardons. Stir regularly, letting them brown whilst also rendering out their fat.
- Once browned and swimming in lovely fat, add the shallots, garlic, and celery. Season with salt and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring regularly. Turn the heat down if they are beginning to take on too much colour.
- Return to the chestnuts — now they have cooled down, the skins should peel easily. The outer shells will pop off, and hopefully, the inner skin too. Sometimes they can be a bit tricky. If this is the case, then simply take a knife to them and peel the skin off. It’s very satisfying when one just pops out clean!
- Once the vegetables are browned and softening nicely, add the plain flour and stir around the pan. Then add the cider and continue stirring (the flour may initially seem a little lumpy but don’t fear, that will cook out). Then add the chicken stock and bring up to a simmer.
- Carefully place the venison shoulder in the stock and add 3 bay leaves and the sage.
- Cover with a lid and then place in the oven at 180°C for 10 mins, then turn the oven down to 120°C and cook for a further 3 hours.
- Peel and then dice the celeriac into 2cm cubes. In a large pan, on a medium heat, add the butter, thyme and celeriac, plus a pinch of salt. Cook on a medium to high heat, stirring regularly so that the butter begins to brown (but not burn) and the celeriac begins to colour.
- Once you’ve achieved good caramelisation on the celeriac and have a lovely nutty brown butter, add ½ a cup of water and turn down the heat. Continue stirring and topping up with water as you go if needed. As it cooks and you continue to stir, the celeriac will break up, which is what you want. Check for seasoning and adjust the consistency with a little more water if needed.
- After 2 ½ hours, check the venison. It should be tender when prodded with a small knife. Return to the oven if it needs more cooking. If you are happy that it’s cooked, check the seasoning and adjust if necessary, and then leave to rest for at least half an hour.