Ah, it’s good to be back after a bit of a busy time. A little bit too much working hard and playing (not quite so) hard means a little less time for writing. Or cooking.
Holidays, festivals and rather messy Stag Do to Hamburg have all featured heavily over recent weeks and so I feel I’ve fallen behind a bit. Food markets seem to be a big feature of late though, they seem to be everywhere at the moment and I’ll be writing about this later.
For now though, I thought I’d share a dish I made last week before departing for Hamburg dressed like a complete tool.
This was another fridge-rummaging, wrinkly-bit-trimming special, to use up the leftovers before I left for the long weekend. I was fairly confident they wouldn’t be used in my absence 😉
This time, some frozen venison mince, a half opened pack of bacon, aubergine from a ratatouille that never was, carrots and a courgette/zuchinni were all involved in this super-hearty dish. Lentils, although one of my favourites were intended as a healthy gesture to ward away the bodily carnage that was to come. Absolutely futile.
For the meatballs
- 250g venison mince
- 2 back bacon rashers, finely sliced
- 2 shallots, minced
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1-2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 2 tsp mustard (I used English)
- 1 large handful breadcrumbs
- Salt and pepper
For the sauce
- 1 each: carrot, courgette, aubergine, sliced
- 1 large red onion, coarsely chopped
- 500ml beef or game stock
- 2 tbsp tomato puree
- 150g lentils.
- 750ml stock (chicken or vegetable)
Creme fraiche to serve.
Start by cooking the lentils in stock until tender – about 45 minutes. Simmer with the lid on until nearly done then take the lid off to concentrate the stock flavour.
Make the meatballs by combining all the ingredients with your hand until evenly mixed.
Season with about a tsp of salt and plenty of black pepper. Mix again to distribute.
Important bit: take a piece of the meat mixture off and fry it. Make any adjustments to the seasoning as you see fit.
Roll the mixture into large meatballs – I got about 9 golf ball sized ones out of it.
Fry the meatballs, onions and garlic in a decent amount of oil using a large lidded frying pan until well browned all over. Add the carrots and mix well. Pour in the stock and tomato puree and leave to simmer for a few minutes with the lid on to soften the carrot. Add the aubergine and courgette and simmer some more (5 minutes) with the lid on until they also softened.
Finally, for a another five minutes, take the lid off and turn up the heat to concentrate the sauce.
Serve it all on the lentils with the creme fraiche. Filling.
Well you’ve certainly come back with a bang 😉
Thanks MD. Nice to be back and ready for Newcastle’s ‘Eat!’ festival this weekend. I intend to do just that 🙂
What a great dish! I really need to find a source for venison. Recipes like this one need to be made and enjoyed. 😉
Hi John, thanks very much. A really warming (read: filling) dish. I hope you can find it. It’s become very popular over here as an explosion of deer numbers has pushed market prices down.
I think, I love you now,….:) This dish looks so appealing & must taste heavenly too! I am a big fan of all things venison, but never tasted venison mince before though! Yummmmmm! x
Why thanks Sophie. I’m blushing! Definitely worth a try, one of the healthier red meats too isn’t it?
OOOh yes! ☺
Love the sound of this dish…especially knowing it was made from what you wanted to use up before your trip. It doesn’t sound like it could have been any better if you went shopping for your ingredients at the market.
Very kind of you Karen. As is often the case in our house, I impulse buy loads of the more ‘exotic’ ingredients and then have to resort to something like this rather them throw them out. Which I really hate doing.
All great photos, especially like the picture of the lentils in the jar. This dish looks delicious.
Thanks Beth, much appreciated. I did like the lentils photo too. I was battling with the light a bit though being the end of the day – I should really used have my nice ‘fast’ 50mm.
Excellent Phil, I love venison and these look particularly worthy. Excellent photos.
Cheers Connor. I sometimes find venison mince needs a little extra fat if too lean but this was OK.
A friend has 2 deer at the processor. I have been promised a few pounds of meat. I cannot wait to make this.
Jackson, Mississippi, USA
Thank you Theresa. A really good winter dish, I hope you enjoy it!