If you are lucky, you may still be able to find a wood or field blewits because they are prompted into fruiting by the first frosts and if conditions are not too harsh, they continue to emerge into the New Year (I have found them in late February). If not, use cultivated mushrooms beefed up with dried porcini. In either case wild mushrooms pack a fantastic flavour punch which works brilliantly with venison . . .
Blewits have such a powerful flavour that they should always be cooked and even then can upset some delicate stomachs and can easily overpower some meats. Roger Phillips suggests a chicken and blewit pie, but I think they work best with stronger flavours. Both wood and field blewits taste very similar, so either can be used, but avoid the bland (and expensive) cultivated version of the latter which are almost flavourless compared to the wild version.
1 Large onion (chopped)
2 Carrots (diced)
1 Leek (shredded)
2 Cloves garlic
500g Diced venison (stewing steak or mutton also work)
1 Large tin tomatoes
1 Large glass red wine
200g Wood (or field) blewits (or 50g dried porcini)
200g Cultivated button mushrooms (optional)
2 Sprigs fresh rosemary
4 Bay leaves
Salt and black pepper
Roll the meat in seasoned flour while you soften the onion in olive oil. Then add the carrot, leek, garlic and meat. Brown the last lightly to seal, then add the blewits (or dried porcini), tomatoes, wine and cook in a low oven for two – three hours. Twenty minutes before serving check for consistency (if necessary thickening with a little cornflower or tomato puree) and season to taste. The vegetables and blewits will have largely melted into the sauce, so you can add cultivated button mushrooms to reinforce the fungal theme. Serve with mashed or baked potatoes – but polenta provides an authentically Continental backdrop.