A classic stew with wild woodland porcini mushrooms, red wine and earthy pearl barley finished on or under a golden crunchy bread croute. Be sure to colour your meat well as this will determine the colour of your sauce.
- Heat up a little oil in a large low sided pan until very hot - the point of smoking.
- Take half the diced venison, season and dust in the flour then fry in the hot oil to seal and colour well.
- Once the meat is well coloured remove and add a little more oil and repeat with the rest of the venison.
- When all the venison is sealed, add a little more oil and turn the heat down, then add the onion and garlic allowing to cook without any colour and until soft.
- Meanwhile bring stock to boil and add the dried mushrooms and bring to simmer.
- Once the onion and garlic are soft add the venison and tomato puree to this and cook for 3 min, stirring.
- Next add the red wine and allow this to reduce by half.
- Now add any flour you have left over, stir well.
- Add the mushroom flavoured stock again stirring well. Finally season and add the thyme sprigs then allow to cook out on a low simmer for at least 90 min or until meat is cooked.
- Wash the pearl barley in some cold water then place into a pan with 300ml of cold water, bring to boil and cook for 30 min. Then drain and refresh in cold water ready to add to stew once it is cooked.
- Cut the slices of bread into a large round shape with a pastry cutter
- Melt 20g of butter and then dip the bread into it on both sides. Place the dipped bread on a baking tray and put in the oven at 190C to go golden brown. Once cooked place on a paper towel to drain any excess butter.
- If the sauce is a little loose, once the meat is tender and cooked, then remove the meat carefully and place in a covered bowl. Now allow the sauce to reduce until it just coats the back of a spoon then add the precooked pearl barley bring the sauce back to boil (if the sauce is just fine then remove the meat and add the pearl barley straight away).
- Once the sauce has come back to the boil turn the heat down to a simmer and then add the remaining butter in knobs stirring them in to give a rich gloss to the sauce.
- Finally add the meat stirring in carefully serve on top of the bread croute or in a small dish with the croute on top.
Photo by Steve Lee - www.steveleestudios.co.uk