Venison Stew in Red Wine
This recipe comes from Arden Vaughn. She and her family own and manage Lake Land Meats here in West St. Catharines, just a few kilometers away. This farm raises both venison and, at times, elk plus other culinary delights. Their retail store is open year-round selling a wide variety of interesting meats and fish like wild boar, quail, trout, and much more.
This recipe was published in “A Year in Niagara” authored by Kathleen Sloan-McIntosh. Kathleen has been an acquaintance for years and is deeply committed to local product. This recipe book was published in 2002. While I have thinned my inventory of cookbooks many times, this one always makes the grade to stay. I will reproduce it here with the changes I made as seen on the video #SizzlinWithSAS.
FYI: I have made this recipe several times. It is a nice change of flavours from a typical winter stew. My previous renditions used either veal or beef stewing meat. Those folks who lasted until 2:00am at my housewarming party in 2007 will remember it as the sustenance that got us through dancing until 4:00am!
3 lbs boneless venison stewing meat, cut into 1” chunks
salt and pepper to taste
5 tablespoons olive oil
4 slices of thick bacon
1 teaspoon dried thyme
10 juniper berries
2 bay leaves (4 bay leaves if they are as old as mine!)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
4 tablespoons all purpose flour (I used gluten free)
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 cup Cabernet Franc
2 large carrots, diced
1 large onion, diced
1 cup beef broth
3 tablespoons blackberry jam (or red currant or cranberry jelly)
Pat the meat dry. Season all sides with salt and pepper. Heat olive oil in a heavy large Dutch oven over medium heat. Working in batches, sear all sides of the venison removing it from the pan with a slotted spoon when browned. Reduce the heat to sauté the bacon until soft. Add in thyme, juniper berries, bay leaves, tomato paste and flour cooking the mixture while stirring until it has thickened, the browned bits have come off the bottom of the pan and the aromas are stating to lift. Add in carrots and onion cooking briefly. Stir in the vinegar, beef broth and browned venison. Stir to completely incorporate the ingredients and return the mixture to a boil. Either reduce the heat to a simmer or transfer to a 250F oven for 2 hours. Stir occasionally adding more wine or broth as required. After 2 hours, remove the bay leaves and stir in blackberry jam. Adjust seasoning if necessary. Serve over buttered mashed potatoes, buttered egg noodles or use in tacos with tomato and herbs.