Venison tagine with butternut squash, apricots and barley
PUBLISHED: 09:00 23 April 2014
Serves 4 with leftovers
1.5 -2 kg Venison shoulder, whole on the bone
2 tbs Raz el hanout spice mix
1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes, more if you like it hot.
4 cloves garlic finely grated or minced
200g unsalted butter, softened
1 onion, roughly chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into chunks or wedges
1 handful chopped dried apricots
Glass of white wine
1 small bunch of fresh coriander
Pinch of saffron
4 cardamom pods
16floz chicken stock
Pre heat the oven to 180.
Mix the raz el hanout spice with the chilli flakes, garlic and 2 tbs of olive oil to make a paste.
Using a small paring knife, carefully pierce holes into the flesh of the venison shoulder.
Season the venison with salt and put into a heavy based tray with all the vegetables.
Rub all the spice mix into it, making sure the spice gets into the cavities you have just created.
Brown the meat in the oven for about 15/20 minutes. You don’t want to burn the spice or allow the meat to dry out.
When the meat and vegetables are nicely browned add the apricots, sugar, vinegar, wine and butter with a small glass of water and chopped coriander stems.
Cover very tightly with baking paper and tin foil before returning to the oven for another 4 hours at 130. If you leave gaps in the foil you will dry out the meat.
For the barley.
Fry the barley and cardamom on a medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring continually to stop it from burning.
Add the chicken stock and saffron whilst the pan is still hot then quickly put the lid on and turn the heat down low.
Continue to cook the barley on a low heat for another 25 minutes then remove from the heat and leave to sit with the lid on for 5 minutes before serving. DO NOT STIR
The meat should be soft and easy to pull away from the bone. As the venison is lean, the butter will keep the meat moist.
Finish the venison by stirring the freshly chopped coriander leaves into the meaty vegetable base then serve with the fragrant barley and some natural yoghurt.