Venison, celeriac and mushroom pudding


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Venison filling

Suet pastry

To begin, make the filling. Season the venison well with salt and pepper, heat some oil in a heavy-based frying pan and seal the venison over a high heat, caramelising well until browned all over
Tip the venison into a casserole dish and deglaze the pan with a splash of wine, scraping the bottom to remove any bits stuck to the bottom. Add this liquid to the venison and wipe out the pan. Add some more oil, cook the lardons until the fat starts to render then add the onion and garlic
Cook for around 10 minutes, stirring often until the onion is soft. Add the mushrooms, raise the heat and cook until they start to colour. Add this mixture to the casserole dish. Add the remaining wine to the pan, reduce to a syrup, then add the stock and bring to a simmer
Preheat the oven to 140°C/gas mark 1
Pour the liquid into the casserole with the venison, mix well and add the bouquet garni. Cover and cook in the oven for 1 hour
  • 1 bouquet garni, in muslin, made of 1 bay leaf, 1 sprig of thyme and a few juniper berries
After this time, stir the celeriac into the venison and cook for a further 20 minutes
Check that the meat and celeriac are tender then remove from the oven. Drain the majority of the cooking liquid into a clean saucepan and reduce to approximately 150ml
Thicken with the cornflour, adding gradually until the sauce is a thick double cream consistency. Remove the bouquet garni from the venison, squeezing out any liquid. Add the sauce to the venison to moisten
  • 1 tsp cornflour, mixed with a little water to make a paste
To make the suet pastry, sift the flour and salt into a bowl and stir in the suet. Gradually add cold water, mixing with a blunt knife until a soft dough is formed
Flour a work surface and knead the dough quickly into a ball. Cut two thirds of the dough and roll into a sheet around 4mm thick. Cut out rough circles measuring 20cm in diameter. Roll the remaining pastry with the trimmings and cut out 12cm circles for the lids
To assemble, butter four 10cm aluminium pudding basins and line with the larger pastry circles. Trim the excess, leaving around 1cm overhang. Fill the basins with the venison mixture
Brush the lids with water and place over the filling, squeezing the two layers of pastry together. Trim any excess
Brush around the rim of the pudding with water and roll the sealed edge inwards to create a double seal around the rim
Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4
Place the puddings on a heavy baking tray and bake for 20–30 minutes, until the pastry is crisp and golden and the filling is hot right through
The puddings should tip out but may need the point of a knife run between the pastry and the basin to help them along. Serve with seasonal greens, roasted carrots and mash
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