Slow-cooked, tender venison is the perfect fit for this creamy, aromatic biryani recipe that Rose Prince picked up from a home kitchen in Delhi. Serves four.
I once toured the basmati fields of Haryana Province, north of Delhi.
Basmati is, to me, the world’s finest rice, with a long needle-like shape and heavenly fragrance. In India, it is regarded the same way we might view a Devon red ruby cow – a rare breed among hybrids.
There are hundreds of different versions of biryani and dozens — if not more — of methods. I learned this slow cooker venison recipe which is creamy and aromatic in a Delhi home kitchen and it has become my staple.
The recipe can be adapted to all sorts of game meat – just prepare as for the venison and make sure it is slow-cooked until tender.
Slow cooker venison biryani
For the slow-cooker venison
- ½ tsp turmeric
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
- 1 tsp chilli powder
- 1 tbsp malt vinegar
- 500g venison
- 1 tbsp fat
For the biryani
- 250g pure basmati rice
- 125ml sunflower oil
- 4 garlic cloves, crushed
- 4cm piece of fresh ginger, grated
- 4 onions, chopped
- 6 cardamom pods
- 3 cloves
- 1 tsp ground turmeric
- sea salt
- 4 tomatoes, chopped
- 100g Greek yogurt
- 6 green chillies, cut lengthwise into slivers
- 2 potatoes, unpeeled, cut into thin sticks
For the topping
- 500g ready-rolled shortcrust pastry
1 beaten egg, for the glaze
1 tsp nigella seeds
1. The venison can be prepared in advance. Combine the turmeric, garlic, ginger, chilli powder and vinegar in a bowl. Add the venison
and coat it in the marinade. Leave for
2 hours. Preheat the oven to 150°C. Place a casserole over a medium
heat. Add 1 tbsp lard or duck fat,
then the venison. Stir-fry it until
just coloured — it will dry out if
over-browned. Add 100ml water,
cover the casserole and cook it
in the oven for 1 to 1.5 hours until the meat is very tender. Set aside.
2. To put together the biryani, par-cook the rice separately. Put it in a saucepan with a large pinch of salt. Add enough water to come about 1cm above the level of the rice, bring to the boil and cook uncovered for 5 minutes. Cover the pan, turn down the heat and simmer for 3 minutes then turn off the heat and leave the rice to steam for a further 5 minutes. Take off the lid and fork through the rice. Spread it out on a large plate and leave to cool.
3. Heat half the oil in a wide frying pan, add the garlic, ginger and onions and fry until golden brown. Add the cardamom pods, cloves, turmeric and half a teaspoon of salt, followed by the chopped tomatoes. Add the Greek yogurt and cook for 10 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil in a separate pan, add the chillies and cut potatoes. Fry until the vegetables begin to soften round the edges. Add the cooled rice to the onion and tomato mixture, then stir in the fried chilli and potato.
5. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Pack the mixture into a pie dish/ovenproof dish. Spoon the tender slow-cooked venison over the top of the biryani, spreading it out and pushing it into the rice. If there are any spare cooking juices, add them too.
6. Brush the edges with water then lay the ready-rolled short crust pastry over the top to form a sealing lid. Brush with the egg and scatter over the nigella seeds — this is purely cosmetic. Bake for approximately 20 minutes; this will allow all the flavours in the biryani to combine while the pastry lid helps to keep the moisture in.
7. The pastry is not eaten with the biryani. But take it to the table and remove it so that all can enjoy the lovely aromas when it is lifted. Serve either with a little extra thick yogurt or a green chutney made with yogurt, mint, coriander, green chilli and a teaspoon of cumin seeds. Any other accompaniments, like naan or poppadoms, will be very welcome.