By: Sarah    Date: 02/18/15

Thomasina Miers’ Venison, Quince and Rosemary Chile con Carne

By: Sarah Date: 02/18/15 Category: Recipes

It's Game Week in the butchery. So, to celebrate, we've dug up a fantastic Thomasina Miers recipe to make the most of our wonderful venison! Thomasina will be returning to Hawarden this September and will be putting on a cooking masterclass at The Good Life Experience Festival.

Venison is one of the healthiest meats: high in protein and low in fat. This recipe uses our beautiful venison to create a chile con carne, or picadillo for a truly authentic Mexican dish. Using diced or minced venison there is virtually no need to brown the meat with so much flavour pouring out of the caramelised fruit, spices and chilli. You may substitute quince for pear or apple depending on the season. Serves four.

So, let's cook!

The ingredients you will need:

- 3 ancho chillies (or 2 tbsp sweet smoked paprika)
- 50ml olive or rapeseed oil
- ½ quince (200g) - can be replaced with apple or pear depending on the season
- 1 plantain (160g), diced small - or sweet potato if you prefer
- 100g prunes, chopped into 1cm dice
- 1 large onion, peeled and chopped
- 1 small cinnamon stick
- 1 tsp allspice berries, ground
- 1 small handful finely chopped rosemary
- 1kg venison mince
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 tin plum tomatoes
- 250ml red wine
- 100g blanched almonds, toasted and roughly chopped

The cooking method:

Pull open the ancho chillies, shake out the seeds and tear into large pieces. Heat a large casserole on medium-high and toast the chilli pieces for five to 10 seconds a side, until they have slightly darkened, the skin has become more supple and they are releasing a wonderful smell. Quickly take them out of the hot pan (you don’t want them to burn or they taste bitter), cover with boiling water and leave to soak.

Add a tablespoon of oil to the same pan and add the quince (or pear/apple), plantain (sweet potato) and prunes. Cook for five minutes, until golden and caramelised all over, then transfer to a bowl with a slotted spoon. Add a tablespoon or two of oil to the pan, add the onion, spices and rosemary, seasoning generously, and cook for five minutes, until the onion is softening, then add the meat and garlic. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, then drain the ancho chillies and blitz with the tomatoes. Add this puree, the wine and the reserved fruit to the pot, and simmer gently for 15 minutes. Check for seasoning, leave to cool and refrigerate – this dish is much better eaten a day after it’s made, because that gives the flavours a chance to develop. It also freezes wonderfully.

To serve, reheat the picadillo gently over a medium heat. Meanwhile, toast the almonds in a dry frying pan over a medium heat for five to 10 minutes, shaking every so often, until pale golden all over, then roughly chop. Serve the stew over a brilliant-orange squash puree, some sprouts or -even better- steam some of our homegrown, in-season kale, and scatter the almonds on top.

Thanks to Thomasina & The Guardian for this lovely recipe!