Its been very cold in our neck of he woods. I don’t know about you, but comforting warm stews and soups are high on the menu choices these days. I usually make this recipe for guests or special occasions. But why not make any night a special occasion. Trust me your family will thank you! Besides, its something to do with all that healthy venison you’ve got stored up in the freezer.
Venison 2 lbs, cubed (we use the backstrap, venison is a lean meat so leave any fat trimmings attached) Of course, you can use beef if venison unavailable. Trim fat if using beef.
6 pieces of bacon sliced in 2 inch strips
Mushrooms, fresh and sliced. Your preference or button mushrooms if available
1 whole onion diced. For presentation, I like to add pearl onions toward the end of the cooking time. Frozen is easiest but thaw completely before adding.
1-2 cloves diced garlic. I keep roasted garlic in the frig and use frequently in these types of recipes.
2-3 carrots sliced
1 tsp thyme (fresh or dried)
1-2 bay leafs
1 bottle of good dry red wine
1-2 cups venison broth. Boil down bones and retain broth, skim fat if desired but very little with venison. Beef broth is a quick substitute as well.
1 tbsp tomato paste
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper
EVOO(extra virgin olive oil) use on low to medium heat to prevent scalding or if you prefer coconut oil or ghee for higher cooking temps.
2 TBSP butter
Enough flour to dredge cubed venison in or you can skip this step if preferred.
I prepare all my ingredients in a cast iron Dutch oven from stovetop to oven.
Cook bacon and remove from pan, retaining bacon drippings
Saute onions and mushrooms in drippings then set aside.
Salt and pepper meat then dredge venison cubes in flour and brown on all sides 5-6 minutes and set aside. I use the Dutch oven lid working in small batches. This step is time consuming but well worth the effort.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Once meat is removed, maintain remnants in pan on low to med heat. If pan drippings are too brown or stuck to pan, pour in 1/4 cup Cognac of brandy to burn off stuck bits.
Stir in tomato paste and 1 tbsp flour to form a paste. Add sliced carrots and garlic, cook 2-3 mins. Add thyme, bay leaf and return meat to pot. Pour in red wine and enough beef broth to cover meat. Bring to boil then lower heat to simmer. Cover and remove from stovetop to finish in the preheated oven.
Cook covered for one hour. Check to make sure liquid is still at the midway level on meat, if not add more beef broth. Return to oven and cook for another hour. At the end of two hour cooking time, add sauteed onions and mushrooms or prepared pearl onions. Return to oven covered for 15 more minutes.
Remove cover and place on cooktop. Be careful as dish will be hot and steaming. Mix in 2 tbsps of butter until melted and garnish with fresh parsley. Serve with garlic mashed potatoes or your favorite risotto.
Cook’s tip: If preparing for guests, prepare 24 hours in advance to allow the flavors to settle in. Reheat slowly on cooktop before serving. Always have a good quality rustic loaf of bread as you will want to soak up every drop of this delicious sauce!