Venison Casserole With Thyme Dumplings

Millbank Venison Recipes

venison casserole

How the recipe was developed:

Venison Casserole With Thyme Dumplings was given to be by a friend from Susan’s Farm she had found the recipe from The Wine Society and was written by Steve Farrow. This recipe has become a firm favourite.

Difficulty Level:


Type of dish:



2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, finely sliced, chopped or grated
3 rashers smoked bacon, chopped
2 carrots, chunkily chopped
2 sticks celery, roughly chopped
1kg haunch or shoulder venison, cut into large dice
1 bay leaf
4 sprigs of thyme
3 slivers of pared orange zest (use a potato peeler)
½ bottle red wine
500ml beef stock
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 square of 70% dark chocolate (optional)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
3 tsp cornflour
1 tbsp cold water

For the dumplings:

50g suet
1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
100g self-raising flour
5-6 tbsp cold water

Preparation Method:

Preheat the oven to 150ºC/300ºF/Gas 2.
Heat the olive oil in a large casserole dish over a moderate heat and add the bacon and cook until just beginning to brown.
Lower the heat and add the onions and cook with the bacon until softened, but not browned, then add the garlic and cook for a couple of minutes more.
In a large frying pan, brown the venison cubes a few dice at a time so as not to crowd the pan and cause the meat to steam rather than brown. Spoon into the casserole dish.

Add the carrot and celery, bay leaf, thyme, red wine, stock, Worcestershire sauce and pared orange zest. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper and bring up to a rolling simmer.

Once the casserole is simmering put it into the preheated oven and cook for two hours

While the casserole is cooking, make the dumplings. Mix the suet, self-raising flour and thyme with 5-6 tablespoons of cold water and mix it until it comes together as a firm-ish dough. Roll the dough into four rounds, cover with clingfilm, and leave to rest until you need them.

Mix the cornflour with a tablespoonful of water to make a loose slurry.

Once the two hours is up, check the venison. If it needs a little more time to get very tender give it another 15 minutes or so and so on. Then remove the casserole from the oven and put it on to a low heat on the hob. Stir the cornflour and water and then add it bit by bit, stirring to mix it well. You may not need all of it to thicken it to the consistency you like. Then stir in the square of dark chocolate until it melts.

Once you have the casserole thickened gently lay the dumplings into the casserole so that they sit just nestled into the mixture. Put the casserole lid back on and simmer gently for another 25 minutes, until the dumplings have puffed up.

Serve in warmed bowls with buttered Savoy cabbage, broccoli or some other greens. You don’t need potatoes or other starches with this as the dumplings do that job, but don’t let me stop you (I’ve certainly done it!)

Hints and Tips:

If your fancy a healthier recipe, forget about the dumplings.

This is a hearty, comforting and undoubtedly rich dish. Look for the same qualities in the wines you choose to drink with it. Two super-value examples come to mind in the form of Parcelas Ecológico Monastrell, Yecla 2018, a rich, ripe Spanish charmer, and the round, plummy but well-balanced Minervois, Plaisir d’Eulalie, Château Sainte Eulalie 2019, a wine that never fails to impress.
We are coming to the end of our fallow venison season. We may not be able to for fill online orders for a couple of weeks after you have placed an order. Please phone or e-mail before ordering to check availability.
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