Carbonnade of Venison
Saturday (7 March
2009) see the start of a new season in a game which has existed in Scotland
for 2,000 years – no, not football but Shinty (camanachd or iomain in modern
Scottish Gaelic). A few years ago the sport’s ruling body The Camanachd
Association switched the game from being a winter sport to summer. The
change has meant fewer cancellations and has led the new digital TV Gaelic
channel BBC Alba to announce that five live Shinty matches will be broadcast
this summer – in June, July and August. The matches will be broadcast live
on Saturdays from 5.30pm – 7.30pm.
Although the game has
been played for some 2,000 years in Scotland it wasn’t until
10 October 1893 that the Camanachd Association came into being at a meeting
held in the Victoria Hall, Kingussie. The new association standardised the
rules for the then existing 33 clubs and has always had one aim above all –
To foster, encourage, promote and develop the sport of Shinty. The move to
summer has met with success as the 12-a-side teams battle in out for the
major league and cup honours – including the premier and coveted Camanachd
Cup. Although most clubs are Highland-based there are sides the length and
breadth of Scotland.
Although Shinty is
Scotland it is similar to Hurling in Ireland and the two countries compete
in Shinty/Hurling internationals. Scotland has come out top on the last four
international contests. Shinty also gave rise to ice hockey in Canada which
arose from early Scots settlers playing Shinty on ice. Visit
www.shinty.com for more details of a sport which is one of the
oldest in the world.
luck to the 39 clubs setting out to meet another season’s challenges and the
recipe this week has to have a taste of the Highlands. A venison
recipe seems appropriate and Carbonnade of Venison is just the ticket.
Carbonnade of Venison
Ingredients: 900g medallions of Venison; 50g olive oil; 700g
onions; halved and thinly sliced; 4 garlic cloves, crushed; 2 tbsp. light
brown sugar; 3 tbsp. flour; 600ml pale ale or lager; 300ml beef or game
stock; 1 fresh bay leaf; 2 large fresh thyme sprigs; salt and freshly ground
black pepper; 30ml wine or cider vinegar; chopped parsley, to garnish
Method: Preheat the oven to 150°C (300°F)
Gas Mark 2. Cut each medallion horizontally into two chunky pieces.
Heat the oil in a large heavy-based frying pan or sauté pan and brown the
Venison in batches over a high heat. Transfer to a large casserole, using a
Add the onions to the oil remaining in the pan and cook for 10 minutes,
stirring until they begin to soften. Add the garlic and sugar, mix well and
cook gently for 10 minutes or until they begin to brown and caramelise.
Stir in the flour, then gradually add the beer, stirring. Bring to the boil,
scraping up any sediment from the bottom of the pan, then pour over the
Venison in the casserole.
Pour the stock over the Venison and onions and add the
herbs and plenty of pepper. Stir lightly to mix. Bring to a simmer, then
cover tightly and cook in the oven for about 1 hour.
Carefully stir in the vinegar and cook for a further 30 minutes or until the
Venison is very tender indeed. Check the seasoning. Serve garnished with
chopped parsley and accompanied by boiled potatoes and some crunchy Savoy
Tip: For a darker stew, use half light ale and half stout.