Dark spiced venison beetroot curry

Dark spiced venison beetroot curry


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Based on a classic Pakistani recipe for beetroot beef curry (Churkandar Gosht), I have combined the rich gamey flavour of venison with beetroot and dark whole spices, together with vibrant beetroot juice. The juice substitutes the usual addition of water during the braising of the curry. This is a dry curry, surrounded by a sauce of blitzed chopped beetroot, and beetroot juice, enticing smoky black cardamom is the hero spice, and dried chilli adds perfect heat. The juice enhances the fresh beetroot and tones down the earthiness of the vegetable that can overpower in such slow cooked dishes. The haunting aroma of this curry lingers in the kitchen long after cooking, and any leftover juice is wonderful for breakfast.

In a heavy-based pan, heat the oil until hot and add the cinnamon, black cardamom, star anise, black peppercorn and dried red chilli. Stir until oil is fragrant, for about 30 seconds
Add the red onion and cook until light brown in colour for about 4–5 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes until the raw smell of garlic leaves the pan
Add the plum tomatoes and cook until half-soft, for approximately 3 minutes. Add the salt, turmeric and beetroot juice and stir
Increase the heat to high and add the venison. Brown the meat for approximately a minute on each side until well-coloured, then add the raw beetroot, stir and cook for 2 minutes
Add 125ml of the beetroot juice, stir and cook until the juice heats through and bubbles
Turn heat to low, cover the pan and cook on low heat for 50–60 minutes, checking occasionally to make sure the liquid hasn't all evaporated. If needed, add a few more splashes of the beetroot juice
After this time, the venison should be tender and the sauce should be thick and vibrant. Add 2 tablespoons of beetroot juice to loosen the sauce and heat through
To serve, garnish with chopped coriander leaves and/or 1 tsp ginger julienne and a squeeze of lemon juice to finish. Serve with an accompaniment of plain boiled basmati rice or naan bread
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