I am ridiculously excited about this recipe; it's a real amalgamation of some of my favourite autumn flavours. Plus, it uses almost entirely local (to us) ingredients. Braising the venison in verjuice delivers a light, tangy casserole. The chestnuts are also sweet and creamy and the pine mushrooms offer a wonderful addition of texture, flavour and colour. If you can’t source venison, veal or beef shin or shoulder would also work a treat.






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  • 1 kg deboned venison shoulder, cut into 4cm pieces
  • 55 g (¼ cup) plain flour
  • salt and pepper, to season
  • 80 ml (⅓ cup) olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped

  • 1 carrot, peeled, finely chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
  • 1 handful of picked woody herb leaves (such as rosemary, thyme and bay leaves)
  • 375 ml (1½ cups) verjuice (see Note)
  • 250 ml (1 cup) veal stock
  • 3 cups thinly sliced pine or brown mushrooms 
  • 10-12 chestnuts, baked, peeled
  • creamy potato mash, to serve

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Preheat oven to 120°C. Toss the venison with the flour and season with salt and pepper. Heat half of the olive oil in a large, heavy-based frying pan over high heat. Add the venison, in batches, and cook for 5 or until browned all over. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the remaining olive oil. Add the onion, carrot, celery and herbs, and cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes or until the onion is translucent and the vegetables are soft.

Add the verjuice, stock and mushrooms. Return the venison to the pan, add the chestnuts and cover with a lid. Cook in the oven for 4-6 hours or until the venison is tender. Serve with the potato mash.



• Verjuice, also known as verjus, is unripe grape juice. Available from delis.


Recipe from Local is Lovely by Sophie Hansen, with photographs by Sophie Hansen.