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Simmered Venison with Walnuts and Pomegranate

Have we got too used to just walking into a supermarket and eating food from all over the world? A group in Fife think so and have set up an organisation Fife Diet to encourage people to eat local produce. Think Global Eat Local is their motto. The recently set up group hope to change eating habits through the eating of fresh local products and cutting down the large importation of food from all over the world. They point out the effect of transportation, particularly air freight, on the environment and the food itself. They note that the further food has to be transported results in vital vitamins being lost and a decline in nutritional values. The Fife Diet group look back to the days when people mainly ate local produce. They aim to bring together folk who want to eat local food and thus boost the local economy and promote local producers. The Kingdom of Fife is a great place to celebrate the diversity of local food from both land and sea. The growing number of local Farmers’ Markets, all over Scotland, shows the potential for groups such as Fife Diet. In the modern world every organisation appears to have a website and Fife Diet is no exception – visit www.fifediet.wordpress.com for further details (the feedback on eating local is fascinating) and links to a variety of Fife food producers with a wide range of produce. These include Fletchers of Auchtermuchty who are able to provide the basic ingredient for this week’s recipe – venison. Simmered Venison with Walnuts and Pomegranate would make a splendid alternative to turkey for your Yule Denner.

Simmered Venison with Walnuts and Pomegranate

Ingredients: 900g (2 lb) diced venison haunch or shoulder; 600ml (1 pt) venison or other stock; 1 onion; 150g (5 oz) freshly shelled walnuts; 1 litre pomegranate juice (or 2-3 tablespoons tart jelly); juice of 1 lemon (optional)

Method: If using pomegranate juice, put it in a wide pan and boil it down until only 3 or 4 tablespoons of syrup remain. It will be reduced by the time the meat has cooked. Chop the walnuts into small crumbs. Fry them gently in a teaspoon of oil, stirring for about fifteen minutes until they darken, then draw them off the heat. Fry the onion in oil till golden brown, then add the neat and brown that too. Add just enough stock to cover the meat, cover, and simmer gently for 30 minutes, topping up with stock if necessary. Then stir in the pomegranate paste (or jelly) and continue to simmer until the meat is tender (about another 30-45 minutes, longer for shoulder). Season with salt and pepper, adding lemon juice if necessary to increase the note of tartness. Serve with steamed spinach and plain or saffron rice.

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