Venison soup with currant relish

    1 hour 55 min

    This soup has an excellent meaty flavour, rather like traditional oxtail soup but made with leaner venison. The deliciously piquant and fruity blackcurrant relish perfectly complements the rich soup.

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    Serves: 6 

    • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    • 1 large onion, finely chopped
    • 1 garlic clove, crushed
    • 300 g (10½ oz) minced venison
    • 8 juniper berries, crushed
    • 90 ml (3 fl oz) red wine
    • 140 g (5 oz) potato, peeled and diced
    • 200 g (7 oz) celeriac, diced, weighed when peeled
    • 150 g (5½ oz) swede, diced, weighed when peeled
    • 125 g (4½ oz) carrot, diced
    • 1 litre (1¾ pints) beef stock, preferably home-made
    • salt and pepper
    • chopped parsley or fresh coriander to garnish
    • 24 oatcakes (1 packet, about 250 g)
    • Blackcurrant relish
    • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    • 3 large shallots, each cut into 8 wedges
    • 16 juniper berries, crushed
    • 3 tbsp caster sugar
    • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
    • 150 g (5½ oz) fresh or frozen blackcurrants

    Prep:55min  ›  Cook:1hr  ›  Ready in:1hr55min 

    1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan and add the onion and garlic. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion has softened and is starting to brown.
    2. Add the venison and juniper berries and cook over a high heat for about 5 minutes, stirring and breaking up the meat, until it has browned. Stir in the red wine, potato, celeriac, swede, carrot, stock and seasoning to taste. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and cover the pan. Simmer the soup gently for 30 minutes.
    3. Meanwhile, make the blackcurrant relish. Heat the oil in a small saucepan and add the shallots. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes or until the shallots have softened. Stir in the juniper berries, sugar, vinegar and 4 tbsp water, then boil rapidly for 5–7 minutes or until well reduced. Stir in the blackcurrants and cook for a further 2–4 minutes or until the mixture forms a pulpy relish. Leave to cool.
    4. Purée the soup in a food processor or blender. Return it to the pan and reheat gently. Ladle the soup into warm bowls and top each portion with a spoonful of blackcurrant relish. Scatter chopped parsley or coriander over the top and serve with oatcakes and the remaining relish.

    Some more ideas

    For a pork and cider soup, use lean minced pork instead of venison and medium-dry cider instead of red wine. Omit the juniper berries and add 1 tsp chopped fresh sage. * For a refreshingly tart apple relish, use 150 g (5½ oz) peeled, diced cooking apples instead of blackcurrants and 4 tbsp cider instead of water. Add 1 tsp chopped fresh sage instead of the juniper berries and reduce the quantity of sugar to 2 tbsp.

    Plus points

    Venison is exceptionally low in fat compared to other meat – 1.1 g fat per 100 g (3½ oz). The same weight of beef contains 4.6 g fat and chicken 4.3 g fat. * Blackcurrant skins contain anthocyanins, a phytochemical that is anti-inflammatory and inhibits the growth of bacteria such as E. coli in the gut.

    Each serving provides

    C, potassium * A, B1, B6, copper, iron, zinc * B2, selenium

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