Venison Casserole with Caramelized Quince by Leiths School of Food and Wine

The deep richness of the venison marries beautifully with the caramelised fruit creating a warming meal to take you through the bleakest winter night. For many people Quince is a sign of late autumn and winter, they have a delicate sweet perfume which in this recipe is enhanced by the cider vinegar, star anise and cinnamon. If you can’t find quince Williams pears or Golden Delicious apples can be used as an alternative. Tip: It is better to start this the night before to allow time for the venison to marinate.

Serves: 4



  • 675g venison

For the marinade

  • 5 tablespoons sunflower oil
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 carrot, sliced
  • 1 stick of celery, sliced
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • 6 juniper berries
  • 1 slice of lemon
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 290ml red wine
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 6 black peppercorns

For the casserole

  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 30g butter
  • 110g onions, peeled
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • 110g button mushrooms
  • 2 teaspoons plain flour
  • 150ml brown stock
  • 1 tablespoon redcurrant jelly
  • salt and freshly ground black pep

For the caramelized quinces

  • 100g caster sugar
  • 100ml cider vinegar
  • 2 whole star anise
  • 1 cinnamon stick, broken in ½
  • 2 quinces
  • 50g butter

To garnish

  • chopped fresh parsley

Cooking Method

  1. Cut the venison into large cubes, trimming away any tough membrane or sinew.
  2. Mix the ingredients for the marinade together in a bowl and add the venison. Mix well, cover and leave in a cool place or in the refrigerator overnight.
  3. Preheat the oven to 170°C/gas mark 3.
  4. Lift out the venison cubes and pat dry with absorbent paper. Strain the marinade, reserving the liquid for cooking.
  5. Heat half the oil in a heavy saucepan and brown the venison cubes a few at a time. Place them in a casserole. If the bottom of the pan becomes brown or too dry, pour in a little of the strained marinade, swish it about, scraping off the sediment stuck to the bottom, and pour over the venison cubes. Then heat a little more oil and continue browning the meat.
  6. When all the venison has been browned, repeat the déglaçage (boiling up with a little marinade and scraping the bottom of the pan).
  7. Now melt the butter in a saucepan and fry the onions and garlic until the onions are pale brown all over. Add the mushrooms and continue cooking for 2 mins.
  8. Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and gradually add the strained marinade and stock, stirring to keep the mixture smooth, return to the heat and stir until boiling, again scraping the bottom of the pan. When boiling pour over the venison.
  9. Add the redcurrant jelly. Season with salt and pepper.
  10. Cover the casserole and cook in the heated oven for about 2 hours or until the venison is very tender.
  11. Meanwhile make the caramelized quinces. Put the sugar in a small pan with the vinegar and 200ml water. Over a low heat, dissolve the sugar then add the star anise and cinnamon stick. Bring up to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Peel and core the quinces and cut into quarters or thick slices depending on their size. Add to the pan and poach until just tender. That will take about 10 minutes.
  12. Drain the quinces from the syrup and pat them dry with kitchen paper. Melt the butter over a medium heat and fry the quinces until golden.
  13. Lift the venison, mushrooms and onions with a slotted spoon into a serving dish. Boil the sauce fast until reduced to a shiny, almost syrupy consistency.
  14. Pour the sauce over the venison and garnish with the caramelized quinces and chopped parsley.


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