- 6 baby turnips, trimmed and quartered
- 2 carrots, thinly sliced
- 2 leeks, sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, sliced
- 2 tsp vegetable oil
- 1.2kg venison, cut into chunks
- 200ml port
- 100g bacon lardons
- 400ml beef stock
- 200g closed cup mushrooms, sliced
- 1 bay leaf
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the dumplings
- 90g self-raising flour
- ½ tsp salt
- 20g rolled oats
- 1 tsp mixed dried herbs
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
- 50g suet
- Check the instructions on your slow cooker, preheating it if necessary.
- Put the turnips, carrots, leeks and garlic into the slow cooker.
- Heat the vegetable oil in a large frying pan. Add the venison, a handful at a time, and cook over a high heat until sealed and browned (about 5-6 minutes). Add the port and allow it to bubble up, then transfer to the slow cooker.
- Put the bacon lardons into the frying pan and cook until browned, then add the beef stock to the frying pan to absorb the pan juices. Pour into the slow cooker and add the mushrooms and bay leaf. Cover and cook on High for 6 hours, or on Low for 8 hours.
- To make the dumplings, sift the flour and salt into a bowl and add the rolled oats, dried herbs and parsley. Stir in the suet, then add just enough cold water to make a soft dough. Knead the dough lightly for a moment, then form into 12 small dumplings.
- When the casserole has been cooking for 6 hours on High (or 8 on Low), add the dumplings to the slow cooker, letting them sit on the surface. Cover and cook for another 25-30 minutes, until the dumplings are light and fluffy. Check the seasoning of the casserole, adding salt and pepper if needed. Serve with the dumplings.
Tips: If you’d like to thicken the juices, blend 2-3 tsp cornflour with a little cold water and stir into the casserole after lifting the dumplings onto serving plates. Replace the slow cooker lid and cook for a further 2-3 minutes.
If venison is unavailable, use beef chuck steak or braising steak instead.