I did a Slow Roasted Venison Roast last January…. and it was wonderful.
But it started me thinking about having my oven on for such a long time – even at relatively low heat.
Of course, in winter, there’s the added bonus of more heat in the kitchen, but, still, in thinking about reducing my own, minuscule, carbon footprint I started checking to see if there was a better way to accomplish the same goal.
Thus the slow cooker became my newest kitchen toy.
It will be tucked into storage for summer shortly, but for winter I have been using it once or twice a week and we’ve been very happy with the results (except for that soup…..)
What I really like about it – put everything in, turn it on and walk away. The food can be ready in 6 hours or maybe 7… or 8. No pressure!
Slow-Cooker Venison Roast
Total time: 8 hours
- 3lb (1500gr) venison roast
- 2oz bacon, cut into matchsticks
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 1 medium carrot, chopped
- 1 rib celery, chopped
- 3oz (90gr) cremini mushrooms, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 8 shallots, cut in half the long way
- 1 cup (8oz, 240gr) chopped tomatoes, with juices
- 3/4 cup (6oz, 180ml) beef stock
- 3/4 cup (6oz, 180ml) red wine
- 1 tsp thyme
- 1 tsp marjoram
- 3 bay (laurel) leaves
- bouquet garni
- 3 tbs cornstarch (maizena) dissolved in 5 tbs water
- Heat oil in medium skillet over medium heat.
- Add bacon and fry until crisp.
- Move bacon to the side, add venison and brown well.
- Put carrot, celery, mushrooms, and garlic in the slow cooker, stir to combine.
- Put venison roast on vegetables
- Add red wine to skillet and stir to deglaze pan
- Pour wine, with bacon, over venison.
- Tuck shallots around the roast.
- Add tomatoes, juices, stock and herbs.
- Cover and cook, low, for 8 hours.
- 20 minutes before serving turn cooker to high
- Stir in cornstarch mixture and cook, uncovered, 15 – 20 minutes..
- Remove bay leaves, slice roast and serve, sauce on the side
Here are some examples of compact planting for your potager (vegetable garden).
*If you have 2 rows of tomatoes, spaced 24 inches apart, you have lots of room when the plants are young, but it gets pretty crowded when they are all producing tomatoes.
Space them 36 inches apart and you have lots of room to pick work around the tomatoes…. And for those tomatoes to get lots of sun.
At the same time as you plant the tomatoes, plant an early crop, spinach, radishes or lettuce, down the middle – 18 inches from either row of tomatoes. You’ll have lots of room in early summer, and, by the time the tomato plants are big, the early crop will be done.
*Sweet corn should be planted in blocks with each row spaced 3 feet apart and the plants 12 inches apart. That’s a lot of wasted space.
Plant trailing vines like butternut or acorn squash. They’ll find they’re way in and out of the corn stalks, providing shade to keep the weeds down and the ground moist for the corn.
Or plant the corn 4 feet apart and put one or two (that’s all you need, anyway) bush-type zucchini or summer squash (courgette) in the middle.
*Plant pole beans rather than bush beans. They’re much easier to harvest, you can space the rows 3 feet apart and plant melons or cucumbers in the middle.
Plus, bush beans produce one main crop all at once, then a smaller, second crop, all at once, perfect for preserving. Pole beans produce small amounts continually for 6 – 8 weeks, perfect for eating. And I usually have plenty for the freezer as well.
*If you want small gherkins for making pickles, let them climb like the beans, easier to harvest…. And you can plant a row of dill down the middle.
*Where ever you have large plants, like zucchini (courgette) or bush type acorn squash, plant radishes or lettuce or spinach around them in early spring. It will all be harvested before the big plants get big.
*Plant onions and shallots in a single row around the edge of your potager. They’ll take up less space, and, after they’re pulled in mid-summer the trailing plants will quickly move into the space for fall.
This method of gardening gets a lot of vegetables in a much smaller space than a typical garden, which means less to maintain. My garden is weed-free but I never weed and I don’t use chemicals. I hoe. More on weeds next week.