• 2 glugs olive oil

• 150g bacon lardons

• 875g lean venison shoulder, cubed and dusted with plain flour

• 1 large onion, chopped

• 3 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks

• handful juniper berries, crushed

• 300ml red wine

• 200ml beef stock

• splash balsamic vinegar

• 2tbsp redcurrant jelly

• 350g cooked chestnuts

• 1 kg sweet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced

• pinch thyme, chopped

• 40g soft butter

• salt and pepper



1 Heat the oven to 160°C. Put a dash of oil in a large, flameproof casserole dish on the hob and fry the lardons until the fat runs. Remove them and drain away any excess fat – you don’t need it.

Time so far: 5min

2 Brown the venison in batches over a high heat, then put it to one side. Reduce the heat slightly and fry the onion and carrots in the casserole dish for 5min or so.

Time so far: 20min

3 Add the berries, lardons, wine, stock, vinegar and jelly. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and stir in the chestnuts and venison. Make sure there’s enough liquid to cover the meat. If there’s any fat on the top, skim it off with a spoon.

Time so far: 30min

4 Cover with a lid and place the casserole in the oven for 1 hr. When the time’s up, take it out, scatter the potato slices on top and return to the oven, covered, for 30m in.

Time so far: 2hr

5 Blend the thyme with the butter, season and dot over the potatoes. Return to the oven for 30m in without the lid, until the potatoes are browned. Eat some now and leave the rest to cool. Divide your leftovers into freezer bags for a week’s worth of muscle meals.

Total time: 2hr 30min