Sunday, 14 November 2010

Abel & Cole

Finally, I decided we'd try Abel and Cole for at least some of our grocery shopping.  Having settled on a small veg box for a weekly recurring delivery, I noticed there was venison mince on special offer - cheaper than the 5% fat Aberdeen Angus beef mince from Ocado so well worth a go.  Of course then there were also venison shanks which looked interesting and on special offer too.  I threw in some pork and leek sausages to give them a try as well and, well, the results have been pretty amazing.  Not only were the sausages some of the tastiest we've had, but the potatoes are so flavoursome!  We've had the potatoes twice now, once mashed with carrot and butternut squash with the sausage juices mixed in, and once with the venison shanks.  They're so... potatoey.

Venison shanks were a tiiiny bit too big for my Star Chef, so I had to take a hacksaw to the bones to shorten them a little.  It was quite hard work, but mostly my own fault due to not putting a damp tea-towel under the chopping board.  The bone ends went into the cooking broth so as not to waste the flavour and marrow.  But there was sooo much meat on those shanks - 265g meat per 400g shank (raw weight) - it was an amazingly hearty meal.

Venison Shanks in Madeira and Beetroot (serves 2 hungry people - 665 kcals per person including potatoes):-
  • 20g butter
  • 2x smallish onions - chopped
  • 3x beetroots - chopped into 2-3" pieces
  • 2x 400g venison shanks
  • 3x small potatoes (approx. 300-350g)
  • 400-500ml beef stock
  • 150ml Madeira
  • splash of olive oil
  • 2x bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
 Season the outside of the shanks with salt and pat firmly.  Heat the olive oil in a small pan and sear the outside of the shanks.  Melt the butter and soften the onions in that butter.  Stir the flour in with the softened onions to mix thoroughly, then sit the venison shanks on top of the onions in your slow cooker.  Add the stock and Madeira and stir through well.  Cook on low (stew/soup setting) for an hour before adding the beetroot and bay leaves.  Cook for a further 3-4 hours on low until ready to serve with the potatoes (don't peel them, it's so much nicer!) which have been cut into chunks and boiled for 10-12 minutes until yielding to a fork.

Serve the shanks, vegetables and cooking liquor into a wide, shallow bowl per person and top with the potatoes.

It was all really tasty, sticky on the lips and extremely filling!  And the venison will just fall away from the bone if you pull on it gently with a fork, you honestly will not need a knife at all.  And the beetroot gives the whole thing an amazing colour.

I'll be making a venison chilli later today for freezing down.  Can't wait!


  1. I've never thought of adding beetroot to slow cooked meals or stews .... something to ponder there. I tried Able & Cole for a while but found my meal plans and their box never seemed to go together. Being a creature of habit needs a shake up me thinks .... I might rethink and see if I can juggle ordering and planning mmmmmmmm

  2. Wilt: is it a little bit restricting, but so far it's made me be a bit more creative and really helped get me out of my recipe rut; every 6 months or so I get sick of the handful of recipes I rotate through and need a good shake up!

    That aside, I am really very impressed with the flavour of the vegetables so far.

  3. I was with Able & Cole for over a year. I loved them. I'd get a small mixed fruit and veg box, and would also sometimes buy other stuff through them on offer. I really think they're great. For London, at least.

  4. I love my organic veg box, I'm so glad I'm able to get one up here, the veg just tastes so much better I think :-)

  5. i really want to try a veg box and have been looking at a few sites nd Abel and Cole came up. Maybe I will give them a try after reading this.