Getting cold feet? Time for Venison and Winter Vegetable Stew

Vinison StewWhat do you do? The Wicklow Hunter’s youngest brother calls to the office and leaves a sack. He tells me that it’s a gift from the brother. “All legal ‘an all” he assures me. I thank him profusely and check the contents. YES! It’s another venison leg, from a pretty young deer by the looks of it. This gets me thinking. 

A couple of days go by and temperatures here in Dublin drop by a few degrees. The wife complains of cold hands and a cold nose. I find that It’s my feet that suffer most (as long as I have a wooly hat for my well-grown forehead). It’s definitely stew weather. My mind is made up. It has to be Venison and Three Winter Vegetable Stew. No time for getting cold feet about that decision.

Vinison Stew

Venison Stew ingredients – in part. I was suffering brain freeze and left out a load of the ingredients. Check the list below.

The definitive list of ingredients:

  • 1 leg of ‘legal’ venison
  • 500 ml (1 pint) beef stock
  • 500 ml (1 pint) chicken stock
  • 2 onions
  • 8 carrots
  • 6 parsnips
  • 1 turnip
  • 4 stalks of celery
  • 1/2 bottle of robust red wine (other half for chef / diners)
  • A good handful of juniper berries
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Salt and pepper
  • Flour for seasoning
  • Oil for frying

When I look at the list and look at the picture, I wonder what I was doing early on in this process. Let’s blame the cold this time. The first thing that needs to be done is to prepare the meat. You probably will just have to cut open the plastic wrap and take out the meat. Free wild game meat means a bit of knife work.

Boning a venison leg

Getting the leg bones out is not as easy as your butcher makes it look. A sharp knife and warm hands are essential.

The end result is a big plate of beautiful meaty chunks and some bones to add more depth of flavour.

Boning a venison leg

Not the neatest job but that’s plenty of meat for eight hungry and cold diners.

Once that is done, flour the meat. I put the meat into a plastic bag with seasoned flour and shake it to coat. Then fry it, in batches, in the casserole dish.

Vinison Stew

Venison browning in the casserole. You can stay warm by standing close.

While this is going on, stay warm by cutting the onions and celery. Take the meat off when cooked and stack it on a plate.

Vinison Stew

A big plate of browned venison waiting to go back into the casserole. At least it’s warm in there.

Then sweat the onions and celery off in the casserole, adding the onions first, the celery with about ten minutes to go and the juniper berries towards the end. This just helps the juniper berries start to release their flavour. It also adds a bit of interest to my photo.

Onions, celery and juniper berries

Onions, celery and juniper berries start to raise a fantastic aroma.

Next, add the meat, wine, beef stock, chicken stock and bay leaves. You may as well add some salt and pepper at this stage too. don’t forget to add the bones too.

Vinison Stew

No, that is not the top of my bald head trying to stay warm. It’s the frozen chicken stock.

Time for the wine interlude. Regular readers will recognise this drop from the south of France. It is robust and full-bodied, somewhat like myself. We tipped half a bottle into the stew, the rest into ourselves.

Chateau Haut Gleon

Chateau Haut Gleon. Pronounced Oh, Glay on. Try it out loud and you will feel French!

Put a lid on the stew and pop it into a 200 degree C oven for two hours. Take it out, stir it and then add the vegetables that you sliced in the interim.

Vinison Stew

Venison Stew starting to come together with three winter vegetables.

This goes back into the oven for another hour. Then take it out and remove the bones. Then reduce it, if you need to thicken the sauce, on the stove top while the potatoes that you also prepared are cooking. There is little left to do but serve it to your cold and  appreciative diners.

Venison Stew

I know somebody is going to comment on the fancy looking table covering. Works well with the stew don’t you think?

They will be warm and grateful when they have had two helpings each, as my lot did.  We can’t do anything about the weather but, don’t get cold feet over this recipe. It’s a real winter warmer.

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Latest comments
  • 🙂

    • I thought you would like the table cover…

  • Scrumptious stew and I love your table cloth.

    • Thanks Rosemary, I have been looking for something to add a bit of colour to my dull plated shots.

  • Butchers and fishmongers always make it look easy until you have to do it yourself. Lovely recipe and lovely pictures.

    • Thanks Maria, good to see you here. I mean it about the warm hands. Nothing worse than a knife cut on cold fingers. Ouch!

  • I have venison in the freezer…yum.

    • Hi Karen,
      Get it out before the weather warms up!

      • I don’t think our weather will be warming up anytime soon but after seeing your dish it won’t be long before I’ll be cooking the venison.

  • Oh, rather! Looks absolutely cracking! So glad you added the bones, I hoped you would… delicious!

    • Thanks Nick, So much additional flavour. It would be mad not to.

  • Looks fabulous Conor! It is incredible the way bones add flavor! My husband is not a fan of bones, but I love adding bones to recipes. No bones about doing that! My best – B

    • Hi Barb,
      You seem to have a bit of trouble with that husband of yours. Sneak the bones in when he is not looking. He will appreciate the end result, particularly if he knows nothing about them being there!

      • Hee hee! Try to remove the bones from a breast of chicken, which adds such great flavor to cacciatore! He laughed at your comment, and said he will try to be better about bones. 🙂

  • Man, Conor! Now you’ve got me craving venison stew for lunch. And due to my lack of quality lunch options, that’s not going to happen. But I suppose that’s my problem and not yours, sigh. Love that you include the bones. Those must add a ton of flavor.

    • Thanks Tommy. Sorry for spoiling your lunch. The bones are almost essential to great flavour in this dish.

  • Great looking stew on a great looking table cover (indeed!). Great that you add the bones so they can give off their flavor. I haven’t made venison stew in ages and you are right the weather is perfect for that…

    • Sadly you are right Stefan. We had the reheat yesterday too it was tasty. Fish tonight and the temperatures have dropped again. Not fair.

  • looks amazing! Its pretty cold here and I can use some venison stew to warm up! Great job!

    • Thanks Casey. You have not cornered the cold.
      Best,
      Conor

  • Very nice Conor!

    • Thanks Justice. I read it is pretty cold over there too. We are travelling tomorrow and will have the big coats with us.

  • What’s this about half a bottle of wine for you: surely at the end of this rather lenghty journey > deliciousness, the second bottle was at some stage opened . . . 🙂 !

  • nice looking table cloth and lovely stew. given the skew on the photo though are you sure you stopped with just half the bottle of wine?

    • Hi Richard, That was my best effort at creativity. Obviously more work (and less drinking) to do.

  • That’s a lovely piece of venison – I’m sure you must buy the Wicklow Hunter a few pints from time to time. Would you swap me a leg for a few pheasants 😉

    • Hi MD, He has been known to take a sip. A brace should see you in good shape for a ‘delivery’.

      • If only I I didn’t live across the water…

  • What a beautiful stew! Alas, I believe our freezer is finally free of venison. But I understand there were 4 deer munching on my flowers this afternoon, so it might not remain empty for long…

    • Hi Michelle, I believe the flowers add a certain bouquet to the flavour of the meat.

  • That is one good-looking bowl of venison stew, Conor! I need to redouble my efforts to find a source for venison. There has to be some for sale somewhere in this city! And if I find some, I know just where to come for a great recipe. Yours is too good to let pass by.

    • Thanks indeed John. More an assembly than a recipe. But, it worked very well.

  • Yum! What a great way to warm up. Now, if I only I could find someone to get me some venison…preferably also cook me this tasty looking stew.

    Hope you’re doing well in the New Year!

    Stay warm. 🙂

    • Doing pretty well in a freezing January. Next time the Hunter calls, you are welcome at the table.

      • Oh boy…that is an invitation I’m not likely to forget. 🙂 Now I just need to get a ticket to Ireland. 😛

        Glad to hear you are doing well!

  • We could use that here. It’s an uncivilised cold temp at the moment. Love the tip about the bones, never thought of that before.

  • Yum! I haven’t made a stew in yonks… I think I might next week to battle this horrible weather!

  • This ‘chap turning up with a bit of freshly killed meat’ thing reminds me of ‘Withnail and I’ and the pub scene. You don’t happen to own a pub do you? No I know you don’t. Nevertheless I am somewhat irked that my standard fare is shrink wrapped and was last seen gamboling in a forested area about 2 months before I’m eating it.
    (PS here’s a clip http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ODGykzBxTME)

    • Brilliant stuff. He does have some similar traits. I shared your Horse post on FB today. Very funny.

  • A definite winter warmer. Sadly venison is hard to come by in these here parts, but I dare say Kangaroo would work with similar treatment and is equally gamey and rich in flavour… Either way, all looks great as always Connor!

    • Thanks Alice. Yes, I think Roo would do.

  • I’m an all-weather-love-stew kind of guy, I like the look of this one. And tasty pictures, Conor!

    • Thanks Sanjiv. I was happy with the stew (and the pics).

  • This looks incredible.

    • Thanks, it was pretty warming. Just what we needed.

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