A hearty solstice stew with the addition of hawthorn jelly.
Heat oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Fry the vegetables in a little oil in a heavy-based casserole for 4-5 mins until golden. Tip in the garlic and fry for a further min, then set aside.
Put the venison into a plastic bag with seasoned flour and shake to coat. Add a little more oil and butter to the pan, then fry the venison over a high heat, stirring now and then, until well browned. Don't crowd the pan - cook in batches if necessary. Set aside with the vegetables.
Add the hawthorn jelly and wine to the pan, and bring to the boil, scraping up all the bits that have stuck to the bottom. Pour in the stock, then add the thyme, bay leaf, meat and vegetables. Season if you like and bring to the boil. Cover and transfer to the oven for about 1½ hrs or until tender. Remove from the oven and check the seasoning.
1 onions , roughly chopped
2 carrots , roughly chopped
50g or swede, roughly chopped
1 celery sticks, roughly chopped
1 garlic clove , crushed
500 shoulder of venison , cut into large chunks (or buy ready-cubed venison for stewing)
2 tbsp plain flour , seasoned with salt and pepper
1 tbsp hawthorn jelly or Rowan Jelly (see below)
150 ml dry red wine (Rioja is good) and 100 ml of port or 250 ml of red wine
250 ml beef stock
2 thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf
1 kg of hawthorn berries
Juice of 1 lemon
500 ml (pint) of water
Bring the berries to the boil with the water and the lemon juice and simmer for 45 minutes. Strain the pulp through a jelly bag for about 6 hours, then discard the pulp and measure the juice. For every 500 ml you need to add 450 grams of sugar. Heat gently until it comes to the boil. Boil rapidly until the jelly becomes firm, remove and leave to set.