This is a gutsy yet elegant stew that I would normally use with venison, but on this occasion ostrich works really well too. It screams winter, spice, open fires and a good glass of red wine.
I serve this with new potatoes, greens and glazed heritage carrots.
If I were you, I’d get the stock going in advance and freeze in batches. The recipe makes around 3.5L, 1.5 of which you will use for this stew. Store the 2L left over in 1L containers and this will perk up all manor of dishes or you could reduce it down to make a smashing gravy.
Set the oven to 250 degrees c. Add a little oil to a baking tray along with the chopped bones and using your hands coat the bones with oil, cook for half hour, turn and cook for a remaining half hour – the bones will be lovely and dark and sticky – all important to add flavour to stock.
Whilst the bones are in the oven, put a glug of oil in a heavy based pan on a low heat and add garlic, onion, bay & thyme and cover with a cartouche. Cook for half hour turning occasionally, then add tomato puree and cook for another 15-20mins very slowly with the cartouche on top.
When the bones are done, remove from oven and using tongs add the bones to the tomato puree mix. Drain off the fat from the baking tray, this will reveal all the lovely juices and bits and bobs from the bones. Add the Madeira and put on the stove on a medium heat, using a whisk, stir so that you slowly remove and incorporate the sticky bits from the bottom of the tray.
After 5 mins or so, add this to the bones along with 5L of water. Simmer for 4 hours skimming the surface when necessary.
When it’s ready drain off the stock and cool.
To make the stew put a heavy based frying pan on the highest heat. Meanwhile, put the meat in a bowl/baking tray, heavily season and add flour and allspice, mix really well ensuring all the meat is coated. When the pan is smoking add a glug of oil and 20g butter and add a single layer of meat. Once the meat has browned, turn and keep doing so until dark on each side – set aside and get on with the next batch until all gone. Keep aside for later.
Next heat a good glug of oil in a heavy based pan on a very low heat, add aromatics (herbs & spice), and once the aromas are released add the onions, garlic, carrot, celery and leak. Stir and add a cartouche, sweat very slowly until veg are translucent and sweat smelling – about 20-30 mins.
Remove cartouche, turn up the heat to full, add the port and cook for 10 mins or until most of the alcohol has burnt off then turn the heat right down, add meat, plums, orange zest and stock. Add a cartouche and a lid and cook on low for 3 hours or until the meat is supper soft. Stirring occasionally.
When ready, serve up with a little freshly cut parsley.