How to make the Queen and Beaver’s New World cobbler
“Growing up in Tottington, near Manchester, I came across a meaty cobbler practically every day, whether at home, school or down at the pub. This is one of my favourite seasonal dishes. It has everything: the gamy venison, the smokiness of bacon, the wine, brandy and port, all brought together with bittersweet chocolate and crowned with plump, cheesy scones. For our expat patrons, this is familiar cooking. They take ownership of it, the same way they do with the old English china on our tables. We sometimes hear, ‘My mother needs just this one piece to complete her set,’ at which point we say, ‘It’s yours.’ ”—chef Andrew Carter
2 cups red wine
¼ cup brandy
¼ cup port
2 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 juniper berries, crushed
3 lb boneless venison shoulder, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 to 2 tbsp olive oil
8 oz double-smoked bacon, chopped
8 oz button mushrooms, halved
8 oz pearl onions, peeled
5 cloves garlic, minced
4 tsp finely chopped fresh thyme
2 tsp dried thyme leaves
2 bay leaves
¼ cup all-purpose flour
1 tbsp tomato paste
½ tsp each salt and freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup finely chopped dark chocolate
Cheddar and Tarragon Scones
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp table salt
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 cups shredded old cheddar
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh tarragon
1 ½ tsp dried tarragon
⅔ cup buttermilk
1. Combine marinade ingredients in large non-metallic bowl. Add venison. Marinate at room temperature for 1 hour. Remove venison, reserving marinade. Pat venison dry.
2. In large Dutch oven, heat 1 tbsp oil over medium-high heat. Cook bacon for 10 minutes, until crisp. With a slotted spoon, remove bacon to a large plate. Pour off and reserve all but 1 tbsp bacon fat from pot.
3. Brown venison in batches for 4 to 6 minutes, adding more bacon fat to pot as necessary. Remove venison as each batch browns and add to bacon on the plate.
The Queen and Beaver Public House
35 Elm St., 416-347-2712
4. Add 1 tbsp reserved fat to skillet, adding remaining oil if there isn’t enough. Cook mushrooms and onions over medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes, until mushrooms start to soften. Add garlic, fresh and dried thyme and bay leaves. Cook, stirring, for 30 seconds until fragrant.
5. Return venison and bacon to pot. Add flour and tomato paste. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Pour in 1 1/2 cups water, reserved marinade, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil.
6. Spoon into wide 16-cup casserole and cover tightly. Place on baking sheet on lower rack of 325° F oven. Cook for about 1 ½ hours, until meat is very tender.
7. Meanwhile, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and pepper in large bowl. Stir in cheese and fresh and dried tarragon.
8. Whisk together buttermilk and egg. Add to flour. Mix with fork until dough clumps together. With floured hands, form dough into 1 ½-inch balls.
9. Stir chocolate into stew. Season to taste with more salt and pepper. Arrange scones evenly on top of stew. Bake, uncovered, for about 40 minutes, until scones are golden brown.
Makes 6 servings