Recipes / Professional

Folk House Cafe’s venison and prune stew

By bristol247, Tuesday Jan 13, 2015

This month’s recipe is one of the most popular dishes at one of Bristol’s best kept food secrets, hidden away down a small pathway midway up Park Street.

Rob Leeburn is head cook and bottle washer at The Folk House Cafe, pretty much self-taught and someone to watch in the cooking world. His venison and prune stew serves six top eight hungry people.


  • Cooking oil
  • 800g -1kg Haunch or leg of venison, boned & cut into 1-1.5 inch cubes
  • 100g Streaky bacon, diced
  • 250ml Port or red wine
  • 4 or 5 medium sized white onions, finely sliced
  • 3-4 stalks of celery, finely sliced
  • 1 teaspoon of thyme, sprigged
  • 1 or 2 juniper berries, crushed
  • ½ teaspoon of mace
  • ½ teaspoon of ground cloves
  • 100g of pitted prunes
  • 1 litre good chicken or veal stock
  • 4 or 5 carrots, halved & sliced into 1.5 cm discs
  • 1 medium Swede, cut into 1-1.5 cm cubes
  • Salt & pepper


1. Place a large saucepan or casserole dish on a high heat and add a little of the oil.

2. Brown the venison in small batches, removing it into a large bowl as you do so. Do the same with the diced bacon and add to the bowl along with the venison. Deglaze the pan with the port or wine, reduce for a few minutes and add to the bowl. 

3. In the same pan turn down the heat to low setting, add some more oil and gently fry the onions until translucent, followed by the sliced celery. Cook for a few more minutes until the celery and onions have softened. 

4. Add the sprigged thyme, crushed juniper, mace and cloves and stir. 

5. Add the browned venison, bacon and reduced port, followed by the prunes and stock. 

6. Season with salt and pepper. 

7. Cook on a low heat on the hob, or ideally in the oven, for 1.5 – 2 hours. 

8. Add the carrots and Swede and cook on a low heat for another hour or 2 until the vegetables are cooked through and the venison can be cut through with a spoon. 

9. Check the seasoning before serving, carefully adding a little more mace or cloves to taste. 

10. Serve with buttery mashed potato and braised red cabbage.

Photograph by Joseph Pymar

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