Serves: 6

Prep Time: 40 minutes

Cook Time: 2 hours, 15 minutes


25g L’Aquila dried porcini mushrooms

2 tbsp olive oil

1 onion, sliced

3 cloves garlic, crushed

160g Woodalls smoked bacon lardons

900g venison, cubed

250g chestnut mushrooms, quartered

1 tbsp plain flour

1 bouquet garni

2 sprigs fresh rosemary

3 bay leaves

180g Merchant Gourmet whole chestnuts

570ml rich Madeira

8 shallots, halved if very large

Salt and freshly milled black pepper


1. Preheat the oven to 140°C / 120°C fan / gas mark 1.

2. Break up any large pieces of porcini, place in a bowl, cover with 250ml of boiling water and leave to soak for 20 minutes.

3. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large oven proof casserole dish, add the onion and fry until dark and caramelised at the edges. Add the garlic, fry for 1 minute then transfer to a plate.

4. Add the bacon lardons to the casserole dish and fry until golden, transfer to a plate.

5. Add 1 tbsp of olive oil to the casserole dish and fry batches of venison until browned, remove from the dish, transfer to a plate.

6. Add more olive oil if required to the casserole dish and fry the quartered chestnut mushrooms.

7. Return the onions, bacon, venison and mushrooms to the casserole dish, add the flour and stir well, then gradually stir in the Madeira, bay leaves, bouquet garni, rosemary and chestnuts. Season with salt and pepper.

8. Add the porcini to the casserole together with the strained soaking juices.

9. Bring the casserole up to simmering, then transfer to the oven for 1 hour 45 minutes.

10. Just before the end of cooking time, fry the shallots until golden then add to casserole and cook for another 30 minutes.

11. Serve garnished with freshly chopped flat leaf parsley.


ANNE SAYS "This luxurious casserole is a favourite with our family and when it is cooking in the oven everyone comments that it ‘smells like Christmas’! We have enjoyed this recipe with friends on Christmas Eve many times. Serve with creamy fluffy mashed potato, red cabbage and green beans."