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Throwback Thursday: Kudu shank casserole

Throwback Thursday: Kudu shank casserole
Tony Jackman’s kudu casserole served with creamy mashed potato. (Photo: Tony Jackman)

It’s the start of the hunting season and time to start looking out for venison such as kudu or springbok. Shanks of either of those make a fine casserole, but they need plenty of time to become tender.

Casseroles are a heartwarming throwback, redolent of 1970s geometric wallpaper in hues of orange and brown, lava lamps casting their mesmerising spell on you, and flat rentals that people could actually afford. A time before the world changed.

I’m writing about those times right now, so they are front of mind. Times of Afros and flared jeans, underground music soon to be overtaken by disco beats. And my heroes David Bowie and Joni Mitchell still young, if not innocent. And in the evenings after a day of writing here in Calvinia, I play some mid-Seventies Joni on Spotify through the little amp I brought with me. Strange Boy, Coyote, and Furry Sings the Blues.

I went into the kitchen of the Karoo house where I’m staying, and got a kudu casserole on the go for my solo supper, to cook while I worked. Half of it would be leftover for a midday snack the next day. I dined on it with strains of Joni in the air that night.

It would be wise to cook this for most of the day, so start in the morning.

(Serves 2, or 1 with leftovers)

Ingredients

Olive oil

1 kg kudu shank cutlets, about four generous slices

1 medium onion, sliced

3 garlic cloves, chopped

1 cup passata (Italian sieved tomatoes)

1 glass of last night’s leftover red wine

1 cup water

2 Tbsp quince jelly

1 tsp ground sumac

3 or 4 thyme sprigs

Salt to taste

Black pepper to taste

Mashed potato, well salted and with lots of butter beaten into it, to serve

Method

Turn the oven on to 160℃ or 170℃.

Pat the shank slices dry and slice the onion. Chop the garlic.

Pour a splash of olive into the base of an iron casserole, or use a heavy pan, and when it’s hot add the shank slices. Or do them two at a time if it’s a small pan. Cook on both sides until well browned, and transfer to a side-dish.

Bring the pan back to a fair heat with a splash more oil in it, and when it’s hot again add the onions and garlic. Simmer until lightly browned.

Deglaze with the red wine, scraping the bottom of the pot to take advantage of their flavour.

Add the passata and water, heat through and stir in the quince jelly until it has melted into the sauce.

Add the thyme and sumac, and season to taste with salt and black pepper.

Bring to a boil, then turn off the heat and put the lid on.

Transfer it to the oven and cook on a mild heat for between three and five hours or until the meat is tender. Three to four should do it, but keep an eye on it and make sure the liquid does not cook away too much and the meat doesn’t become dry.

The sauce should have reduced nicely, and should not be fatty because of the leanness of the kudu meat.

Make some creamy mashed potato to serve it with, and garnish with thyme. DM

Tony Jackman is Galliova Food Writer 2023, jointly with TGIFood columnist Anna Trapido. Order his book, foodSTUFF, here

Follow Tony Jackman on Instagram @tony_jackman_cooks.

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