Venison Shank and Chestnut Mushroom Suet Puddings
We like cooking with game. At the pub we could virtually do anything with game and it would have sold. Venison is delicious, low in fat and very versatile. The season for venison is long and give you perfect opportunity to experiment and enjoy.
I like to use as much as I can form the entire animal and the shanks is perfect for these suet pudding. This dish takes time and a lot of patience to prepare but my theory is that if you have the time, the ingredients and a good bottle of wine why not give this delicious recipe a go. I could not believe my eyes at the volume of flaked meat I retrieved from the cooked shank.
I made 6 individual suet puddings with one venison shank and I would rather not say how little I paid for it. Even though I spend a lot of hours cooking my conclusion is that this dish is certainly worth the effort.
The suet pastry is easy to make and the golden rule is to work quickly with light fingers and do not knead the pastry. Push it all together and put it in the fridge to rest, this way your suet puddings will be light and easy digestible. The other golden tip is in the steaming time, I steamed these puddings for an hour and they came out super light and delicious.
Ingredients & Method
Venison and Mushroom Filling
- 700g venison shank (one large shank would be enough)
- 50g plain flour
- 2tbs sunflower oil
- 2 carrots, rough diced
- 1/2 leek, rough diced
- 1 onion, rough diced
- 1 clove of garlic crushed
- 2 sticks of celery, rough diced
- 1/2 tsp coriander seeds, crushed
- 3 in number juniper berries, crushed
- 30g tomato puree
- 160ml Port or red Wine
- 1L chicken stock
- Sprig of rosemary
- 2 bay leaves
- 150g chestnut mushrooms cut in 1/4's
- 30g unsalted butter
- Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
- 1tbs chopped continental parsley
- 1tbs chopped chives
- 1tsp sherry vinegar
- 400g self raising flour
- 200g beef or vegetable suet
- Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
- Ice cold water
Preheat the oven to 160°C. Pat the venison shank dry with kitchen paper, season the flour with salt and pepper and coat the shank in the flour.
Heat the oil in a large oven safe casserole dish and brown the shank until golden brown all over, remove from the casserole dish, set aside and return the casserole dish to the heat. Brown the carrot, onion, leek, celery, garlic and spices in the same dish until golden brown, add the tomato puree, the remaining flour left over from the dusting, and cook for 5 minutes over low heat, deglaze the dish with the port wine and cook until the Port is absorbed by the vegetables and becomes thick and sticky, return the venison shank to the dish. Add the stock, rosemary and bay leaf, cover the dish with a lid and bring the stock to the boil. Place the casserole dish covered with a lid in the preheated oven for 2 1/2 hours.
While the venison is cooking make the pastry. Weigh the flour and suet into a large mixing bowl, add seasoning and mix well. Add a tablespoon of ice cold water at a time and mix until the pastry forms an easy to handle dough, I started with 6 tbs of ice cold water and then added a bit at a time until it was easy to handle. Do not over work the mixture as your pastry will be heavy, work quickly with light fingers. If you prefer use a mixer; take extra care not to over work the suet pastry. Once the pastry comes together and forms a ball, wrap the pastry in clingfilm and refrigerate for 2 hours. Lightly grease 6 – 5cm high x 7.5cm wide pudding basins with sunflower oil. On a lightly floured work surface roll the pastry 3 – 4mm thick and line the pudding basins with the suet pastry.
Once the venison is cooked, remove the dish from the oven and leave for 10 minutes to cool slightly. Remove the meat, set aside and pass the sauce through a fine sieve into a small saucepan.
Bring the sauce to a gentle simmer and reduce until thick and coating, reduce by half the original measure.
Remove the bone and sinew and flake the cooked venison meat.
Heat a medium frying pan with the butter and saute the chestnut mushroom quarters seasoned with salt and pepper until golden brown. Transfer the cooked mushrooms to a large mixing bowl.
Add the flaked venison shank about, 200ml of the reduced sauce, the chopped herbs and mix well.
Fill each dish with 110g of well mixed pie filling, divide the liquid evenly between the puddings, dampen the rim with cold water and cover each pudding with a suet pastry lid, crimp and make a large steam hole in the centre of the lid with a metal skewer.
Steam the puddings for 1 hour, turn the puddings out onto warm serving plates.
Bring the sauce back to the boil and dd the sherry vinegar and spoon a generous amount of sauce over each pudding, serve with cooked green beans.
If you like kidneys: dice two venison kidneys in to 2cm pieces and saute them at the same time as the mushrooms, for about 3 minutes. Do not over cook the kidney as it goes rubbery, drain the mixture in a colander and add the sauteed kidneys and mushrooms to the cooked venison shank mixture.
How to steam: I used the thermomix to steam these puddings. Fill the jug with 1L of water, secure the lid and place the steamer basket on top, place the puddings inside and cover with he lid. Set the timer for 60 minutes at Veroma, speed 3. If you do not have a thermomix then use a saucepan with a steamer compartment, half fill the pan with water, place the puddings in the steamer compartment and place a lid on top, bring the water to the boil, reduce heat to a gentle simmer and steam the puddings for 1 hour.