Little Mission ~ Prepare Game Casserole For Your Guests

15 December, 2023 | Lifestyle, Organisation

With guests arriving to celebrate Christmas with you, this is my go to Christmas Eve recipe which will delight your guests and save you time.

This week on my Instagram I shared a behind the scenes story of the Christmas preparations and I had so many requests for what I was making that I thought I’d share with you. It’s a Mary Berry recipe and never fails not only to impress, but is super delicious and can be made in advance. Personally I think it tastes much better if made ahead of time and you’ll have the added benefit of spending time with your guests rather than missing all the fun if you’re in the kitchen.

The Game Casserole, can be popped it in the freezer and we will have it on Christmas Eve. All I’ll need to do is warm it in the oven and serve with with buttery egg noodles or creamy mashed potatoes. Roasted carrots, parsnips, or a green salad can also be refreshing. Use crusty bread to soak up the tasty sauce.

Stunning Christmas calmness with Country Abodes

Mary Berry Game Casserole (serves 8)


Vary the proportion of meats as you like, and, if you have difficulty getting the exact amounts of mixed game, you can make up the difference with braising beef or Boneless chicken. In season, some supermarkets sell packs of mixed game – often including venison, pheasant, rabbit, wild duck and pigeon.

1.4kg (3lb) mixed game meats (see above)

2 tablespoons sunflower oil

2 tablespoons sunflower oil

75g (3oz) butter

200g (7oz) smoked bacon lardons

450g (1lb) whole frozen chestnuts, thawed

4 leeks, thickly sliced on the diagonal

50g (2oz) plain flour

300ml (½ pint) red wine

600ml (1 pint) chicken stock

4 tablespoons redcurrant jelly

salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 large orange

To serve

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

1 orange, sliced


pink star indicating a point Trim the meats and cut into 5cm (2in) pieces.

pink star indicating a point Heat the oil and half of the butter in a large non-stick frying pan or casserole, and brown the game and bacon over a high heat until sealed and brown. You will have to do this in batches. Add a little more oil if necessary. Don’t be tempted to put too much meat in the pan at once as it won’t seal or brown properly.) Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.

pink star indicating a point Add the remaining butter to the frying pan and brown the chestnuts. Lift out with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add the leeks to the pan and fry over a high heat for a few minutes.

pink star indicating a point pink star indicating a point Sprinkle in the flour, and gradually blend in the red wine, stock and redcurrant jelly. Bring to the boil, stirring, season with salt and pepper, then add the whole orange and the meats.

pink star indicating a point Cover and cook over a low heat for 1½-2¼ hours or until the meats are tender. You could also cook the casserole in the oven preheated to 160°C/Fan 140°C/Gas 3 for about the same time.

pink star indicating a point (The cooking time will depend on the variety of meats used: venison, for example, tends to take a little longer to become really tender.) Check the liquid halfway through cooking, adding a little more stock if necessary.

pink star indicating a point About 15 minutes before the end of the cooking time, add the whole chestnuts.

pink star indicating a point pink star indicating a pointpink star indicating a point Once the game is tender, lift the softened orange into a sieve, cut in half, stand over a bowl and push the orange through the sieve, collecting the juice. Gradually stir the juice into the casserole until the taste is perfect. Check the seasoning and add a little more stock if the casserole is still a little thick.

pink star indicating a point Garnish with freshly chopped parsley and orange slices. Serve with mashed potato and fresh vegetables – celeriac purée and red cabbage (see pages 110 and 112) go particularly well.

Cooking ahead with help you save time. Casserole pot image with onions and sage in the back ground

Top Tips

To Serve As Individual Pies

Cook the casserole as directed. Roll out a 375g packet of ready-rolled puff pastry so that it is a little larger and cut out eight 10cm (4in) circles.

Crimp the edges of each circle and lightly mark a diagonal pattern on the surface. Glaze with beaten egg and bake at 200°C/Fan 180°C/Gas 6 for about 15 minutes until golden brown (this can be done ahead).

Serve a spoonful of casserole on a plate and slant a puff pastry circle on top to make a ‘pie’.

Preparing Ahead

Casseroles are often even better a day or so after cooking as the flavours have chance to mellow, and this one is no exception. Cook the casserole as directed. Cool quickly, cover and keep in the fridge for up to 2 days. Reheat gently until piping hot, adding a little more liquid if needed. This is meal planner is a super little tool I always use to help me with Christmas preparation..

To Freeze

Prepare the casserole to the end of stage pink star indicating a pointpink star indicating a pointpink star indicating a point, cool quickly and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw thoroughly, then reheat gently until piping hot, adding more lic id if necessary, Garnish with chopped parsley and orange slices.

Aga Cook as above up to the end of Stage pink star indicating a pointpink star indicating a point on the Simmering Plate.

Bring to the boil on the Boiling Plate, cover and transfer to the Simmering Oven for about 2½ hours until tender. Continue as above.

winter sun on a. devon beach
What’s better than a Christmas Walk on the beach before coming home to a delicious meal with the family.

I hope you enjoy this recipe and find the time to make in advance. It really will make all the difference!

Let me know in the comments what you do to spend more time with your friends and family.



Blogs you might enjoy

Hi, I'm Claire


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Receive my free meal planner and keep in touch

Join my mailing list to receive a free menu planner, together with lifestyle, wellbeing and organisational newsletters and event information. Don't worry you can unsubscribe at any time.
Click Here