Some recipes from this weekends Wild food course.

A great Wild food foraging weekend course with lots of mushrooms, lots of game and great fun!! Oh… and some great food!!  Some of the recipes we have used before, like the nettle soda bread to go with Sunday lunch, but there is a couple here that people requested.

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Smoked venison sausage campfire cassoulet

This is one of the dishes we served at the wildfood course last weekend.  It is maybe a bit involved to do in its entirety at home but it shows a range of techniques and the end result is incredibly tastey!  You can make the same dish with bought sausages but it’s not as much fun!!!

Serves 8 as a hearty main course.

For the sausages

2 kg Venison

1kg pork fat

Natural sausage casings (available from your local butcher)

5 tblsp Rusk  (this may sound like padding but it really helps with consistency of the final sausage making it much more moist)

Salt and pepper

For the beans

1kg dried cannellini beans, soaked over night

100g butter

3 onions Sliced thinly

5 cloves of garlic (less if you want, but the big garlicky hit really is great) chopped finely

4 tsp smoked paprika (the sweet one not the hot one)

To make the sausages, mince the meat and fat together into a large bowl, add the rusk, salt, pepper and a small cup of water. Mix this all together with your hands until you feel the mixture become sticky.  Use your sausage stuffer or a piping bag to fill the casings and form into links. We then cold smoked these over Beech wood chips for 2 hours.

For the beans, put the butter into a large pan over a medium heat and add the garlic, onions and paprika.  Cook these together without colouring the onions or garlic until they all look transluscent and soft. Add the beans and enough water to cover them. Simmer for 40 minutes until the beans are soft.

Fry off the sausages until brown then add to the beans and cook together for 20 minutes.

We served the stew with hunks of wild Herb soda bread, but any bread will do.

Wild mushroom Orsotto serves 4 as a main or 8 as a starter.

1 onion chopped finely

3 cloves of garlic chopped finely

200g wild mushrooms chopped

500g Pearl barley

1 glass white wine

Stock

100g Butter cut into small cubes.

100g Parmesan or similar grated finely

Put a glug of olive oil into a large pan over a medium heat. Add the garlic and onion and cook gently without colouring until the onion is soft and translucent.  Add the mushrooms and cook these down until soft (about 5 mins).

Add the pearl barley to the mix and stir until each grain is shiny with oil. Now pour on enough stock (veg or chicken) to cover the rest of the ingredients, cover and cook on a medium heat for about 30 mins. You should check the pot regularly to make sure it does not go dry, adding more stock if necessary.

Check that the grains are cooked, I like them with a bit of chew, and then stir in the butter and parmesan, check for seasoning (it will need some black pepper but possibly no salt because of the cheese and butter) and serve.

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