Venison might well be the original Autumn and Winter food, deer meat being common staples of early settlers. Those stepping off the Mayflower were probably thrilled to have an abundance of deer to eat. Modern farming gave rise to domesticated meats such as chicken, turkey, beef and pork, but lean venison makes a great and delicious alternative to beef. I find that a nice venison stew recipe or venison steak adds great variety to the diet. Choose commercial venison or deer meat that you or your friends got themselves out on the hunting field.
Make sure to cook venison less aggressively than beef because the meat has less fat, making it toughen when overcooked. Acidic marinades help remove gamey flavors, and stews finish in much shorter cooking times than beef.
You just have have to try the wonderful recipe for Venison Stew below. I personally love it and so does my wife and five kids.
Autumn Garden Harvest Venison Stew Recipe
1/4 cup flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound venison stew meat, cubed
½ cup each: chopped carrots, celery, tomatoes
1 tablespoon chopped fresh herbs such as basil, cilantro and thyme
1 cup chopped onions
1 cup chopped winter squash, sweet potatoes, pumpkin or combination
1 teaspoon minced garlic
4 cups rich brown chicken, veal, deer or beef stock
salt and coarse ground pepper to taste
2 bay leaves
½ cup red wine
favorite spice mix or spicy barbecue rub
optional: cornstarch slurry or roux composed of equal amounts of flour and fat
– Add the olive oil to a Dutch oven or stew pot and heat the oil over high heat. Mix flour with seasoning mixture to taste and roll the venison meat in the mixture.
– Sear the meat, turning it occasionally, for about three minutes until browned evenly.
– Add the onions and sauté for two or three minutes.
– Add the celery, garlic, herbs, tomatoes, carrots and salt and pepper to taste, building layers of flavor, and cook for three minutes.
– Deglaze the pan with the red wine and cook to evaporate the alcohol.
– Add the stock and bay leaves and bring the stew to a slow simmer, covering pot.
– Simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, and then add the chopped squash.
– Return to a simmer and cook, covered, for 20 to 30 minutes until vegetables are tender.
If the liquid evaporates too quickly, add more stock or water. You can tighten the gravy by adding a cornstarch slurry, but roux adds more flavor and creates a stronger liaison. Some people prefer the natural juices, and the flour on the stew meat and starches in the vegetables will thicken the sauce a bit.
You can make the roux by cooking flour and butter or oil over medium heat, stirring constantly until nutty brown. Cool the roux before adding to hot stew mixture—you should always add hot roux to cold liquids or cold roux to hot liquids, or you will get lumps in your gravies. Add one teaspoon at a time until you reach the desired degree of gravy thickness.
You can make your own signature spice mix by combining your favorite spices or using a commercial mix or barbecue rub. Be sure to trim away any excess deer far because it tastes very gamey.
Enjoy this delicious stew with crusty bread or jalapeno cornbread. Winter greens, such as kale, complement this venison stew recipe, and you could choose any fruit cobbler, pumpkin or sweet potato pie or carrot cake for dessert. My children love to drink sparkling apple cider with this meal. Enjoy!