This venison stroganoff is absolutely fantastic - of course, you can use the more traditional beef fillet instead of venison, and any mushrooms you like, but there's something about venison and wild mushrooms that works so well together. Have a go at this and you'll know what I mean! The whole point of this dish is that by the time you start cooking the meat, it will all come together quickly. The meat will be quite pink - cook it for longer if you want but it will go slightly tougher.
Cook the rice according to the package instructions until it's just undercooked and drain in a colander. Put the rice back in the pan, cover with aluminum foil and set aside to steam - this will give you incredibly light and fluffy rice.
Heat a large frying pan on a medium heat and pour in a glug of extra-virgin olive oil. Add the onions and garlic and cook for about 10 minutes until softened and golden. Remove from the heat and spoon the onions and garlic out of the pan onto a plate. Set aside.
Season the meat well with salt, pepper and the paprika. Rub and massage these flavorings into the meat. Place the frying pan back on a high heat and pour in some more olive oil. Add the mushrooms and fry for a few minutes until they start to brown. Then add the meat and fry for a minute or 2 before adding the parsley stalks (you can do this in 2 pans or in batches if your pan is not big enough) and the cooked onion and garlic. Toss and add the butter and brandy.
You don't have to light the hot brandy, but flaming does give an interesting flavor so I always like to do this. Once the flames die down, or after a couple of minutes of simmering, stir in the lemon zest and all but 1 tablespoon of the creme fraiche and season, to taste. Continue simmering for a few minutes. Any longer than this and the meat will toughen up - it doesn't need long, as it's been cut up so small.
Serve your fluffy rice on 1 big plate and your stroganoff on another. Simply spoon the remaining creme fraiche over the stroganoff, then sprinkle over the sliced gherkins and the parsley leaves. Eat at once!
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Recipe Excerpted from JAMIE AT HOME by Jamie Oliver. Copyright (c) 2008. Published in the U.S. by Hyperion. All Rights Reserved. www.jamieoliver.com
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