You don’t have to mention venison meat to that many people before someone brings up a terrible experience they’ve had with it. “It was too tough” or “It tasted too “gamey” are common responses. It’s true that animal selection and cooking methods can have an effect on the way the meat tastes, but there is a lot more to venison than backstraps and burgers on the BBQ, and you can soon find out why venison is some of the most expensive and south after meat in New Zealand.

Today I am sharing with you my recipe for venison tagine, with warming Morrocan spices and fall apart meat, serve it with some warm flatbreads for the perfect winter meal.

This is the recipe that I use, but the beauty of tagine is that you can make it however you like it, experiment with spices and add all the veggies you want. A great excuse to spend an afternoon relaxing with friends around you as it boils away, and pair with a glass of red wine.

This recipe is perfect for the older game meats or tougher cuts, save your young tender backstraps for the BBQ, the time spent on this recipe will have any venison falling apart and tasty, and proves that there is no need to waste any meat because of the age or cut.

Ingredients

Olive oil
Approx 1.5kg venison shoulder (cut into 2cm cubes)
2 red onions
4 garlic cloves
1 Tbsp ground ginger
1 Tbsp sweet paprika
1 Tbsp ground cumin
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
1 Tbsp ground turmeric
300g roughly chopped dried apricots
2 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes
500ml chicken/vegetable stock
1 x 400g drained tin of chickpeas
Juice of ½ lemon

To serve

Large bunch of fresh mint
Fresh greek yoghurt
150g pomegranate seeds
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
Serve with warm flatbreads or couscous

Method

  • Heat a deep flameproof casserole dish over a medium heat and add a large glug of oil. Add the chopped onions and fry until soft and beginning to colour (approx 4 minutes).
  • Add the crushed garlic and all of the spices and fry for a further 2 minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon.
  • Cut the venison meat from the bone and dice into roughly 2cm cubes and add it to the pot, coating it with oil and spices. Cook stirring regularly for 5 minutes.
  • Add the chopped tomatoes, apricots and stock and bring to a simmer, before reducing the heat to low.
  • Add 150ml of water and leave it to simmer gently for 3 hours. Stir the tagine every so often to ensure it doesn’t stick or burn, if it becomes too thick too quickly add a little water as needed.
  • 30 Minutes before serving, stir in the chickpeas and lemon juice and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • To serve, scatter chopped mint, pomegranate seeds and lemon zest over the top of the tagine, and finish off with a dollop of fresh greek yoghurt.