While venison stews and casseroles of a number of types are fairly popular in different parts of the world, it is perhaps not so often that you will come across a recipe for a venison curry. The good news is that the cooking method employed in this particular instance is almost exactly the same as when preparing a stew and the widely available ingredients in this simple recipe are relatively few in number when compared to many often complex curry preparations. As with venison stews or casseroles, the main requirement is to cook the meat long, slow and gentle, so that it is ultimately super tender and not tough and unpleasant to eat. Note that while the venison used in this recipe is the meat of wild Scottish red deer, any other type from moose meat to roe deer meat could very effectively be substituted.
If the moderately lengthy cooking time required for this curry makes it impractical for you to enjoy it on a work night, you may wish to prepare it one night, cool it and refrigerate overnight in a covered glass or stone bowl. On the second night, it can be gently reheated while you cook the rice. A further benefit of choosing this tactic is that curries are like soups and often taste better the second day when the individual flavors have had greater time to infuse.
Ingredients (Serves 2)
- ¾ pound diced lean venison loin
- 2 tablespoons sunflower or vegetable oil
- Salt and black pepper
- 1 small red onion
- 1 medium sized clove of garlic
- 1 small yellow bell pepper
- 1 medium size and medium strength green chili
- 1 medium size and medium strength red chili
- 14 ounce can of chopped tomatoes in tomato juice
- 2 teaspoons medium curry powder
- 1 pint fresh beef stock
- 1 cup basmati or long grain rice
- 3 tablespoons freshly chopped cilantro (coriander leaf), plus extra to garnish
Peel the red onion and cut it in half down through the middle. Lay each half flat on your chopping board and finely slice across the way. Peel the garlic clove and finely slice or chop as desired.
Pour the oil in to a large pot or stew pan and bring it up to a medium heat. Add the red onion and garlic and saute over a low to medium heat for two or three minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon or spatula, until the onions are just starting to soften and turn translucent.
Wash any remaining blood from the chunks of venison in a bowl of cold water and pat them carefully dry with sheets of kitchen paper. Add the pieces to the pot with the red onion and garlic and season with some salt and black pepper. Turn the heat up a little under the pot and saute, stirring all the time, until the meat pieces are evenly sealed and browned all over.
Wash and dry the bell pepper and chilies in lukewarm water. Slice the top from each chili and discard before slicing them both in to discs. Cut the bell pepper in half and cut out discard the remaining stem and the seeds. You should also get rid of the lighter colored, softer seed membrane which is not so pleasant to eat. Moderately finely slice both halves. Add these items to the pot and stir briefly.
Pour the canned tomatoes in to the pot and measure out the curried powder carefully. Pour in the beef stock, stir everything well and turn up the heat under the pot until the liquid just begins to simmer.
When the curry is simmering, reduce the heat and put the lid on the pot. Maintain as gentle a simmer as possible for two hours, stirring occasionally and monitoring the liquid level. You may find the curry remaining a little watery with around half an hour of the cooking time left. If this is the case, simply increase the heat very slightly and/or leave the pot uncovered for the remainder of the cooking time.
When the two hours are up, check that the venison is indeed tender. If not, cook for another ten minutes or so and test again. When the meat is cooked to your satisfaction, add two tablespoons of the freshly chopped cilantro and stir well. Turn off the heat, cover the pot and leave it to essentially rest while you cook the rice. It will stay piping hot during this short time.
Put a large pot of salted water on to a high heat to reach a rolling boil. Put the rice in to a fine sieve and wash it thoroughly under running cold water. Allow it to drain well. When the water is boiling, add the rice, stir it briefly around, reduce the heat as required and simmer fairly gently for ten minutes.
Drain the rice at your sink through a sieve. Allow it to steam off for two or three minutes before tipping it back in to the pot and adding a tablespoon of finely chopped cilantro. Use a fork to simultaneously fluff up the rice and stir through the cilantro.
Use a large serving spoon to divide the rice equally between two heated serving plates. You can choose either to make the rice serve as a bed for the venison curry or simply serve the two side by side. Spoon the curry on to the plates and garnish with the last of the cilantro.
While most people would choose to eat this meal with a fork and perhaps a knife, I elected to use a spoon instead to make eating it a little bit easier.