This Venison Stew is so easy! It’s so much healthier than beef, and has just as much flavor. The venison is neither gamey, nor tough. It is melt in your mouth tender, in the slow cooker or on the stove!
So, cooking with venison is a learned skill. Because it is so lean, care has be taken when cooking. When venison is quickly cooked, it must be cooked medium rare. But…. if it is slow cooked, it can be cooked to well done. The slower the better.
Like I do for most of my soups and stews, I cool it down and refrigerate it overnight. This is optional but doing so will give the flavors a chance to meld and enhance each other.
I mean, when was the last time you ate leftover chili, or stew and didn’t think it was better the second day?
Then after a day, or two, heat the stew up on high, to take the chill off. When it is hot, reduce the heat to low and continue.
When I make a stew, or meaty soup, I usually just do the meat, mirepoix and spices the first day.
Then I add the vegetables I wish to use, on day two, in order of the time needed to cook them to the consistency we like them! In other words, vegetables that take longer to cook will get added first.
No beef stock needed!
This stew has no beef stock in it. I find that the beef flavor takes over the stew and it no longer tastes like venison.
I make venison stock from some of the bones left, after processing the meat. It then gets bagged and frozen and will last a very long time in the freezer.
In lieu of that, if I am out of stock, I just make sure I brown the meat very well, over high heat.
The “fond” (all of the brown stuff left in pan after the browning process), is the flavor you want to use for your stew!
What you need – day one
- Venison stew meat- back leg cuts work great.
- venison stock or water
- red wine
What you need – day two
- butternut squash
- frozen pearl onions
- frozen peas
- cornstarch to thicken
How to make Venison Stew
You don’t have to take two day to make this stew. It is easily made in one day. It is just better the second day!!
- Trim any fat or silver skin from meat. Cut into fairly uniform sized chunks of stew meat.
- Add olive oil to cast pan and heat very hot (if using stove top, use a dutch oven). Place meat in a few at a time so that pan doesn’t lose it’s heat.
- Get pieces as brown as you can on at least 2 sides.
- Meanwhile, dice onion and a carrot.
- Remove browned venison to slow cooker, if using, or a plate.
- Reduce heat to medium low. Add onions and carrots to sweat for a few minutes.
- Then add red wine and scrape up all of the browned bits from the bottom of the pan.
- Add vegetables and wine to crockpot (or Dutch oven) and then cover with water. Salt and pepper to taste. Cook on low for 4 hours, or longer. Cool and refrigerate over night, or up to 3 days.
- When you are ready to resume the stew, remove from refrigerator and start on high. Peel, then cut up butternut squash into samll chunks.
(I do this Butternut Squash Soup with the remainder of the butternut!)
- Cut up potatoes, carrots and celery.
- Add the butternut, potatoes, celery and carrot to the pot. Reduce heat and cook for about 2-3 hours, until butternut and carrots begin to soften.
- Then add fresh sage, parsley and thyme. (can substitute dry, but reduce by at least half)
- Add herbs.
- Cut mushrooms on the vertical axis, for presentation reasons, only.
- Add to stew. Cook at least 30 minutes. When all the veges are soft enough for your liking, add the pearl onions and green peas.
- Make a slurry with cornstarch to thicken the stew. About 3 tablespoons cornstarch mixed with warm water. Stir or whisk until all of the chunks are removed.
- Cook for another hour, or so. Stew will turn a nice dark brown and thicken up, when cornstarch is cooked through.
Other vegetables to add
You can pick whatever veges you like in your stews. Quantities are not critical with this recipe either. It’s all pretty subjective. Whatever you like, add to your stew! Just go for it and be adventurous!
- green beans
- Brussels sprouts
- sweet potato
Pro tips to ensure your success
- Trim the meat well. Do not leave any fat or silver skin on the meat.
- Cut pieces about the same size.
- Use back leg cut of meat, such as the bottom round or rump.
- Brown meat on very high fire. Sear on at least 2 sides.
- Make sure to deglaze the browning pan with the wine or stock and scrap the browned bits off of the bottom.
- Stew can be made in one day, but flavors develop further if cooked for 2 days.
- Store leftovers in refrigerator for about 3 days. Freeze in portions for longer storage.
- Use venison stock or vegetable stock, try to avoid beef stock, if possible. It tends to overpower the subtle venison flavor.
Want to learn more about How to Cook Venison? Don’t miss our awesome, Ultimate Guide! Complete with 65 FREE Recipes from some of the top venison recipe developers in the world!
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Venison Stew, slow cooker or stovetop
- 1 cup butternut squash, cut in cubes
- 1 1/2 cup potato, cut in cubes (4 small)
- 1 cup carrots, cut in chunks (2 medium)
- 1/2 cup celery, cut in larger chunks
- 1 tbsp fresh parsley, minced
- 1 tsp fresh thyme, minced
- 1/2 tsp fresh sage, minced
- 5 small mushrooms, sliced vertically
- 1/2 cup frozen pearl onions
- 3/4 cup Frozen Peas
- 3 tbsp cornstarch
For Day One
- Trim the venison well, before cutting into cubes. If stove top cooking, use heavy bottom Dutch oven. If slow cooking, just use any heavy bottom pan. Heat oil on high heat. When oil is hot, add a few pieces of venison at a time so that oil doesn’t lose temperature. Brown venison on all sides, when brown, remove to plate.
- Once all the venison is browned, reduce heat to medium low. Add a bit more oil to pan. Saute the onion, carrot and celery, scraping up the fond (the brown stuff) in the bottom of the pan.
- Add red wine, continuing, to scrape pan. If using the stove top, add meat back to pan and cover with water. If using slow cooker add meat and the vegetable mixture to slow cooker. In both cases, cook on low for 4-6 hours.
- Let cool and refrigerate, overnight, or up to 3 days.
- The next time you cook the stew, add the butternut, potatoes, carrots, celery. and herbs. Cook for 3 hours, or so.
- Add mushrooms. Make a slurry of cornstarch and warm water, make sure you stir or whisk all of the lumps out. Cook 1 hour, or so. Add onions and peas and heat through, about 30 minutes. Adjust seasoning. Serve.
- Times are not critical, so whatever fits into your schedule, is fine. The times I suggest, are the minimum required to cook the ingredients!
This post may contain affiliate links, which means I get a small commission if you click the link and purchase something, at no additional cost to you. See FTC Disclosure, here.