Field To Table | Soups & Stews

Venison Stew

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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!

Close up of venison stew in blue bowl.Pin
Venison Stew

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.

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Like we do for most of our soups and stews, we cook it the first day then 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.

Seriously, 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.

Colorful hearty stew with lots of vegetables.Pin

When we make a stew, or meaty soup, we usually just do the meat, mirepoix and spices the first day.

Then add the vegetables that you 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. We find that the beef flavor takes over the stew and it no longer tastes like venison.

Instead, 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. You can even can your own venison broth in your pressure canner.

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.

If you feel like there isn’t enough flavor using the fond, use a vegetable stock instead, or make your own from kitchen scraps.

Which cuts of venison should you use?

The best cuts are located on the lower section of the rear leg above the shank. The bottom round, rump, sirloin and others will work well.

This meat is tougher than other cuts so it benefits from long cooking times to make it fork-tender and they have great flavor.

What you need – day one

  • deer meat- back leg cuts work great. Dry meat thoroughly with paper towel
  • oil – any mild flavored oil will work
  • carrot – slice or dice, depending on how chunky you want your stew to be.
  • celery – slice or dice, as above
  • onion white or yellow onion, or shallots
  • venison stock or water
  • red wine or beer – we prefer wine

What you need – day two

  • butternut squash
  • potato
  • carrots
  • celery
  • parsley
  • thyme
  • sage
  • mushrooms
  • frozen pearl onions
  • frozen peas
  • cornstarch to thicken

How to make Venison Stew

Day One

You don’t have to take two days to make this stew. It is easily made in one day. It is just better the second day!!

  1. Trim any fat or silver skin from meat. Cut into fairly uniform sized chunks of stew meat.
  2. Add olive oil to cast iron skillet and heat very hot (if using stove top, use a dutch oven). Place meat in a few pieces at a time so that pan doesn’t lose it’s heat.
  3. Get pieces as brown as you can on at least 2 sides.
  4. Meanwhile, dice onion and a carrot.
  5. Remove browned venison to slow cooker, if using, or a plate.
  6. Reduce heat to medium low. Add onions and carrots to sweat for a few minutes.
  7. Then add red wine and scrape up all of the browned bits from the bottom of the pan.
  8. Add vegetables and wine to crockpot (or Dutch oven) and then cover with water or broth. Salt and pepper to taste. Cook on low for 4 hours, or longer. Cool and refrigerate over night, or up to 3 days.
Trimmed venison on board. Venison searing in cast pan. Venison flipped over. Carrots and onion chopped pn board. Browned venison added to crockpot. Onions and carrots in cast pan. Red wine added to vegetables to deglaze pan. Vegetables, wine and water added to crockpot.Pin

Day Two

When you are ready to resume the stew, remove from refrigerator and start on high. Peel, then cut up butternut squash into small chunks.

(I do this Butternut Squash Soup with the remainder of the butternut!)

  1. Cut up potatoes, carrots and celery.
  2. 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.
  3. Then add fresh sage, parsley and thyme. (can substitute dry, but reduce by at least half)
  4. Add herbs.
  5. Cut mushrooms on the vertical axis, for presentation reasons, only.
  6. Add to stew. Cook at least 30 minutes. When all the veggies are soft enough for your liking, and the meat is fork-tender add the pearl onions and green peas.
  7. 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.
  8. Cook for another hour, or so. Stew will turn a nice dark brown and thicken up, when cornstarch is cooked through.
Butternut chopped on board. Celery, carrot and potatoes on board.Pin
Vegetables added to crockpot. Fresh hebs on cutting board. Chopped herbs added to crockpot. mushrooms sliced.Pin

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.

  • peppers
  • corn
  • green beans
  • barley
  • beans
  • Brussels sprouts
  • parsnips
  • turnips
  • rutabaga
  • celeriac
  • sweet potato
  • squash

Additional herbs and flavorings

  • bay leaf
  • garlic
  • tomato paste
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • bacon fat – use bacon fat to brown in instead of oil.
carrots, potatoes, peas and venison in stewPin

Stove top method

  1. Trim any fat or silver skin from meat. Cut into fairly uniform sized chunks of stew meat.
  2. Add olive oil to to your Dutch oven and heat very hot. Place meat in a few at a time so that pan doesn’t lose it’s heat.
  3. Get pieces as brown as you can on at least 2 sides.
  4. Meanwhile, dice onion and a carrot.
  5. Remove browned venison to a plate.
  6. Reduce heat to medium low. Add onions and carrots to sweat for a few minutes.
  7. Then add red wine and scrape up all of the browned bits from the bottom of the pan.
  8. Add meat back to Dutch oven and then cover with water or broth. Salt and pepper to taste. Simmer on low for 4 hours, or longer.
  9. Cut up potatoes, carrots and celery.
  10. 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.
  11. Then add fresh sage, parsley and thyme. (can substitute dry, but reduce by at least half)
  12. Add herbs.
  13. Cut mushrooms on the vertical axis, for presentation reasons, only.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. Cook for another 10-15 minutes, or so. Stew will turn a nice dark brown and thicken up, when cornstarch is cooked through.

As with the slow cooker method, I prefer to cool the stew and refrigerate after step 8. Then resume the following day for best flavor.

Instant pot method

  1. Trim any fat or silver skin from meat. Cut into fairly uniform sized chunks of stew meat.
  2. Set instant pot to sauté mode and add oil. Brown a few pieces at a time and then remove with a slotted spoon to a bowl or plate. continue until all of the meat is browned. Add a little more oil, if needed.
  3. Meanwhile, dice onion and a carrot.
  4. Add onions and carrots to sweat for a few minutes.
  5. Then add red wine and scrape up all of the browned bits from the bottom of the pan make sure you scrape all of the drippings off of the bottom so that you don’t trigger a burn notice.
  6. Add the butternut, potatoes, celery and additional carrot to the pot.
  7. Then add fresh sage, parsley and thyme. (can substitute dry, but reduce by at least half)
  8. Cut mushrooms on the vertical axis, for presentation reasons, only.
  9. Add to stew.
  10. Set instant pot to high pressure and cook for 35-40 minutes, depending on the size of your chunks of meat and vegetables. Let manually release for 10 minutes.
  11. Remove lid. Add pearl onions and peas. Stir. Stir in your cornstarch mixture at this time too. Set the pressure cooker on sauté mode again and cook those vegetables and thickener for about 5 minutes.

Pro tips to ensure your success

  • Trim the meat well. Do not leave any fat, sinew, connective tissues 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 scrape 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 broth, if possible. It tends to overpower the subtle venison flavor. If you don’t have broth, you can just use water, it will be flavored by the pan drippings and make stock.

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!

I hope you enjoyed the recipe today for venison stew! Go here for more great venison recipes on Binky’s Culinary Carnival.

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Enjoy. And have fun cooking!

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Venison stew in blue bowl.Pin

Venison Stew, slow cooker or stovetop

This Venison Stew is so easy! It’s so much healthier than beef, and has just as much flavor. The venison in this Venison Stew is neither gamey, nor tough. It is melt in your mouth tender, in the slow cooker or on the stove!
See Step by Step Photos Above!Most of our recipes have step by step photos and videos! Also helpful tips so that you can make it perfectly the first time and every time! Scroll up to see them!
5 from 12 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: entree, Main Course
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 8 hours
Slow cooking time: 8 hours
Total Time: 8 hours 20 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 251kcal
Author: Beth Neels
Cost: $5

Ingredients

Day One

Day Two

  • 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 tablespoon fresh parsley, minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh sage, minced
  • 5 small mushrooms, sliced vertically
  • 1/2 cup frozen pearl onions
  • 3/4 cup Frozen Peas
  • 3 tablespoon cornstarch

Instructions

For Day One

  • Trim the venison stew meat 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 the stock or water. If using slow cooker add meat and the vegetable mixture and the wine, stock or water to slow cooker. In both cases, cook on low for 4-6 hours. 
  • Let cool and refrigerate, overnight, or up to 3 days.

Day Two

  • 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!
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Video

Notes

Quantities and ingredients are not crucial in this recipe! Use what you like, in the quantities you prefer.
If you enjoy green beans, bell peppers, hot peppers, corn, pumpkin, other squash, whatever you can go into a stew like this!
Brown venison well on all sides.
Make sure to add all of the browned goodness (fond) from the bottom of the cast pan into the slow cooker.
Stew can be cooked in one 8 hour day, but is far superior on day 2.
If you don’t have any venison stock, you can substitute vegetable stock or beef stock, as a last resort.

Nutrition

Calories: 251kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 29g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 96mg | Sodium: 101mg | Potassium: 948mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 8000IU | Vitamin C: 23.4mg | Calcium: 58mg | Iron: 6.3mg
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26 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I have made this stew twice and it is wonderful! I marinate the cubed venison in red wine for a day before I sear it. This year I added carrots, celery, onion, cauliflower, corn, peas, green beans, acorn squash, mushrooms and tomatoes! Absolutely wonderful! Best ever – especially day 2!

    1. I’m so glad to hear that you like it Mary! Great choice of veges too! And you are totally right about day 2! I love that you marinated it in wine too! Yum!

      1. I’m not sure where to use the stock. It’s mentioned in the notes to use beef or vegetable if you don’t have it, but I’m not seeing where in the recipe.

        1. Sorry. I will fix the recipe card. It is stated in the post. Add the stock and water after cooking the wine a few minutes and scraping the bottom of the pan. Let me know how you like it! Thanks Patricia!

  2. 5 stars
    I always say the best stews are those slow cooked and the meat are tender. I can just imagine the rich flavour and aroma!

    1. That’s very true! I love the smells in the house when you cooking soups and stews! Thanks so much, Immaculate!

  3. 5 stars
    This is such a hearty, filling, comfort soup! It is perfect for winter. I am going to love making this.

  4. 5 stars
    After reading your recipe I wish I could still be in Italy with cold weather…instead we just moved to super humid and hot Doha….but I already found a solution… will put the AC on extremely cold at home and will enjoy this heavenly stew.

    1. Haha! Thank you Loyola! It is really the only thing I like about the cold weather! All of the great soups and stews of the season!

  5. 5 stars
    Love a good venison stew, yours looks fabulous and so tasty, I totally agree that it’s so more flavorful on the next day!

    1. Oh, for sure! I feel like that is one of the most important steps of the recipes for stews and chilies! Thanks so much Patty!

  6. 5 stars
    I also love using my slow cooker to cook less-than-tender cuts of meat. This stew looks so heart and satisfying – perfect fall comfort food!

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