Game casserole with wild mushrooms

mixed game (pheasant, partridge, pigeon, wild duck, rabbit and venison all work well. If you use hare, be careful that its strong flavour doesn’t overwhelm the rest)
2 or 3 onions, peeled and sliced or chopped
2 large carrots, peeled and sliced or chopped
1 large turnip or 2 small ones, peeled and cut into small chunks
2 cloves of garlic, crushed and chopped
2 sticks celery, chopped
wild mushrooms (nearly any firm mushrooms work well, but particularly ceps, or other boletes, and horn of plenty. If using dried mushrooms, these must be soaked in water for a couple of hours. The liquid can then be added to the casserole for flavour)
2 bay leaves
mixed herbs, or a bouquet garni, or tie a bundle of herbs together and throw it in
1 bottle red wine, and a glass of ruby port
oil and butter for frying
salt and pepper
1 tbsp flour

Variations: add juniper berries, capers or roughly chopped apricots for an Elizabethan-style casserole.

Cut up any large pieces of meat, and fry the game in oil and butter till lightly browned. If the birds are whole or the rabbit in small pieces, brown the outsides and cook as they are, as it is easier to take out the bones once they are cooked. Take the game out of the frying pan and put into the casserole, leaving the oil and butter in the pan. Now fry the onion, and when it has become translucent sprinkle in the flour a little at a time and stir it in. Add more oil if it gets dry. Continue to cook for a few minutes.

Add the turnip, carrot and celery. Add the garlic and cook briefly, and then put the contents of the pan into a casserole. Deglaze the pan by pouring in some wine and heating till it begins to boil. Pour this into the casserole, and add the rest of the wine, the port, herbs and bay leaves. Put on a lid and cook for 1.5 hours, or a bit longer if the game is tough.

Add the mushrooms about 30min before the end of cooking so they retain their texture. Any large pieces of game can be unjointed or deboned before serving. Add the seasoning, remove the bay leaves and herbs and serve.

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