I recently read through a recipe by one of our well known lady cooks and used her basics but added a few of my own.
2lb back strap cut into 2 inch pieces, silver skins and trash removed.
a double handful of dried apricots
a double handful of chestnut mushrooms
a double handful of dried porcini mushrooms
1/2 lb of cooked peeled whole chestnuts (not essential) but good
1/2 lb of bacon lardons or if you don't have access to these, then chopped streaky bacon will do.
Chop/cut the bacon into 1/4 inch pieces.
Butter and oil, veg or olive
1 large onion, sliced
2 cloves of garlic, sliced
I use Tony C's Cajun mixed ground spice, but ground black pepper and salt will do.
2 Bay leaves
good sprinkle of thyme
two table spoons of plain flour.
PLUS at least 1 pint of either Madeira, or as I found because I did not have that, one third port and two thirds cheap dry sherry and I found you will need more than a pint, so add sherry as required.
Large deep skillet on the heat and add 4 oz of butter and some oil and when melted and sizzling
brown the meat pieces on all sides and put them in a large lidded casserole dish. Then put the sliced onion, garlic into the pan and keep stirring until the onions turn brown and a bit caramalised on the edges. Transfer the onions etc into the casserole. Now put two tablespoons of plain flour into the pan and stir vigorously until the flour starts to thicken the juices. You might have to add extra butter at this point if there isn't enough fluid left from cooking the meat/onions. Then gently add the port/sherry mix, stirring all the time, still on full heat, keep adding it and stir until the mix starts to turn into a creamy sauce. Carful not to burn it. I have one of these multi stemmed cane whisks which works well at this job. Tip all of this sauce onto the meat and onions and add the mushrooms and apricots. Add the thyme, bay leaves, black pepper and salt or Tony C's Cajun mix. Add the chestnuts if you have them. With a large spoon stir it all together and check to see if there is sufficient fluid. You may have to add a drop more sherry so the fluid just comes to the top of the contents.
Lid on, hot oven and check it in about 1 hr. Add a bit more sherry if required and then let it sit in a moderate oven for another hour or so until your happy the meat is cooked and tender.
Personally I would serve with either a large baked jacket potato or nice fluffy mashed potato and
a choice of vegetables ... French beans, carrots, broad beans, even sweet corn, or all four
A glass of real ale, cider or a smooth fruity red wine would go well too.