- Sauté the onions, mushrooms and garlic in the oil until well softened.
- Add the venison and stir well until it has all (more or less) changed colour.
- Add sufficient dry cider or wine (red or white as preferred) or stock, to cover, but not too deeply.
- Add the stock cube (only if you are using wine or cider), bay leaves, grated carrot and tomato purée, and stir well.
- Simmer very gently for at least three hours, stirring occasionally and replenishing the liquid (with more cider/wine/stock or just water) if it gets too dry. The ideal is to have the sauce with little separate liquid when it is served - but not dry enough to scorch. It may be simmered on top of the stove, or in a very low oven, or in a slow cooker. The sauce is edible after about 40 minutes but is infinitely better flavoured and textured after three or four hours. In a slow cooker it can be cooked for eight hours. The flavour is even better if it is cooked, allowed to cool overnight, and reheated for 30 or 40 minutes but this is a council of perfection and not really necessary.
- About 30-40 minutes before serving remove the bay leaves, add the herbes de Provence, and adjust the salt (i.e. taste it and add more salt if you think it needs it).
- Just before serving add freshly ground black pepper.
- Serve over spaghetti (or whatever other pasta shape you prefer) cooked al dente (well-cooked, but not too soft) and sprinkled with grated Parmesan cheese.