Indulgent venison stew

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Venison stew

Serves 6


2 dried ancho chillies (if you can’t find these, use dried birds eye chillies or any other variety, to taste)

2-2½kg venison shoulder

1 tbsp cumin seeds

1 onion, finely chopped

6 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 fresh chillies, deseeded and finely chopped

4 tbsp sunflower oil

1 tsp chilli powder

1 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes

1 tsp dried oregano

2-3 squares of dark chocolate


For the cornbread:

160g flour

180g cornmeal/polenta

3 tbsp sugar

1 tbsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

½ tsp bicarbonate of soda

300ml buttermilk

2 eggs

50g butter, melted

1 tbsp pickled jalapeños or green chillies, chopped


To serve:

Sour cream

6 spring onions, chopped

1 bunch of fresh coriander, chopped

Tortilla chips


  1. Soak the dried chillies in a bowl of cold water.
  2. Remove the bone from the venison and dice the meat into 2cm cubes (or ask your butcher to do this for you).
  3. In a heavy, large dry casserole, roast the cumin seeds on high heat until they give off a strong, toasty aroma. Use a spice grinder or pestle and mortar to grind these seeds into a powder.
  4. Heat two tablespoons of oil in the casserole and cook the onion, garlic and fresh chillies for 3-5 minutes until softened. Remove from the heat.
  5. Heat the remaining oil in a separate pan. Working in batches, brown the meat on all sides. Add to the casserole once coloured.
  6. Add the cumin, chilli powder, tomatoes, oregano and enough water to cover. Chop the soaked chillies and add to the casserole with their water.
  7. Bring to a gentle simmer over a medium heat and skim off any froth that rises to the top.
  8. Simmer, covered, for 2½ hours, occasionally skimming off any fat that rises to the top. Once cooked, stir in the dark chocolate.
  9. For the cornbread, preheat the oven to 230˚C/210˚C fan/gas mark 8. Combine the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, salt and bicarbonate of soda in a large bowl. Whisk the remaining ingredients in a separate bowl, then stir into the dry ingredients until just combined.
  10. Grease a 23cm cast-iron pan and dust with cornmeal. Pour in the cornbread batter and bake for 20-25 minutes.
  11. Serve the stew with the cornbread, some sour cream, spring onions, coriander and tortilla chips, for dipping.

Per Serving:

780kcals, 24.4g fat (8.5g saturated), 9.7g carbs, 5.2g sugars, 122.6g protein, 1.8g fibre, 0.182g sodium