Supermarkets in the UK are getting better at stocking game, but it is also worth looking out for game at the many local farmers’ markets that are springing up. It is good to support local producers and you can usually feel more confident of the quality if you are buying it direct from the farmer.
This recipe is adapted with very few alterations from Margareta Schildt Landgren’s attractive book Notes from a Swedish Kitchen. As I like venison and wild mushrooms I thought I had to try it, but I must confess I was sceptical at the inclusion of so much cream. Nonetheless, despite my instincts, I decided to add the cream: it was perfect. The cream just softened the gaminess without overpowering it so, if like me, you are wary of too much cream don’t be on this occasion.
Swedes would normally use fresh wild mushrooms. Conveniently the start of the venison season coincides with the arrival of yellowfoot chanterelles, shown above, which I like to use, but any wild mushroom will do. (Note that yellowfoot chanterelles as also known as funnel chanterelles or winter mushrooms.) Obviously, don't risk picking mushrooms yourself unless you are absolutely sure of what you are picking.
In the UK wild mushrooms are fairly scarce, so I normally use dried mushrooms. In fact with this recipe it is very hard to tell the difference between fresh and wild mushrooms, so I recommend using dried and keeping fresh mushrooms for another dish. John Duxbury
• If you are confident that the dried mushrooms are clean then you can skip step 1 and add the dried mushrooms and 250 ml (1 cup) of water in step 4.
• Although I normally make this recipe using dried mushrooms, you can use fresh mushrooms if you prefer. Use 100 g (4 oz) and add them in step 4 along with 250 ml (1 cup) of water.
• Try sloe gin instead of plain gin or slånbärssnaps (sloe snaps) - both work really well.
|20 g||(¾ oz)||dried wild mushrooms|
|600 g||(1¼ lb)||diced game|
|8||small shallots, peeled and halved|
|salt and freshly ground black pepper|
|4||juniper berries, crushed|
|120 ml||(½ cup)||whipped cream or double (heavy) cream|
|250 g||(8 oz)||carrots, peeled and sliced|
1. Place the dried mushrooms in a jug and pour about 240 ml (1 cup) cold water over them and leave them to soak for 30 minutes or so. (Alternatively, soak in hot water for 20 minutes). Pick the mushrooms out of the water and put in a sieve over a bowl. Carefully strain the mushroomy water, through muslin if necessary, and set aside.
2. Melt the butter in a large casserole over a medium heat. Add half the meat and cook until nicely browned. Remove from the pan and set aside. Repeat with the rest of the meat.
3. Add the onions and fry until just beginning to brown. Season to taste and add the crushed juniper berries.
Note: dried porcini mushrooms have been used in the above photo, not yellowfoot chanterelles.
4. Return the meat to the pan and add the mushrooms and their liquid. Add the gin and cream. Cover and simmer on a gentle heat until the meat is tender. The exact time will depend of the type and cut of meat, but this should take between 30 and 60 minutes.
5. Add the carrots to the stew for the last 5 minutes of cooking.
6. Serve with potatismos (mashed potato) and a glass of red wine.
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