Venison and Vegetable Stew

A co-worker gave me a venison roast the other day from a freshly killed deer. He labeled the package "steak" but when I opened it it was a roast. With the leanness of these animals the only way to tenderize a roast is through a moist heat cooking method, thus I made a stew.

I also like to add lots of vegetables to stew (not only for flavor, but also because I like vegetables); thankfully I had just gone shopping so I had enough vegetables in the fridge. So besides the meat, the stew also contained lots of onions and garlic (as do most of my recipes), celery, carrots, kale, potatoes, and these crazy little pink turnips that I bought at the Lexington Co-op.

This is a basic stew recipe and the ingredients can be changed to suit your taste or to include what you have on hand. This would, for example, be excellent if made with beef, lamb, or even pork. It's simple to make but will take about an hour or so of simmering to soften the meat. Anyhow, this is how to do it.

Start by browning the meat in hot fat (I used olive oil)...the key is to make sure the pan and fat are hot and the meat is dry...if there is blood dripping from the meat it should be drained on a paper towel. After the meat is browned remove it to a plate and set it aside.

Add some diced onion to the pan and cook it until it begins to brown, then add a clove or two of minced garlic and cook it a minute longer. Before the garlic caramelizes too much (i.e. burns) add a few tablespoons of flour to the pan to form a compound roux (you may need to add a little more oil as well).

Lower the heat and cook and stir the roux for a couple of minutes, and then de-glaze the pan with red wine. This will almost immediately turn into a gooey and unappetizing mess (which is normal), so thin it with either chicken or beef broth. Use a wire whisk to remove any lumps.

After the sauce comes to a boil lower it to a simmer. Add the meat back to the pan (it should look like there is too much sauce at this point...this is normal, too). Cover the pan with a lid or foil, leaving it ajar just slightly. Simmer the meat for about 1/2 hour, stirring it a few times. If too much liquid evaporates add more.

Check the consistency of the meat. When it feels like it is becoming tender add whatever vegetables you are using (and additional liquid if necessary). Then cover the pan and cook for another 20 minutes. Don't forget to season with salt and pepper.


If you'd like an actual recipe to print, this one from Emeril looks pretty good...but please, don't yell Bam!