Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Most Excellent Venison Stew

I thought I would post another venison recipe.  If you are into holiday cooking and baking, then tuck this one away for a great January stew.  I adapted it from the Silver Palate Cookbook.  My friend, Deb introduced me to this cookbook several years ago and it's an often used, must-have on my cookbook shelf.  Check it out here.  I omitted the chicken gizzards (I'm not making that up) and actually simplified the recipe quite a bit....which is quite amazing because this isn't something that is thrown together quickly.  HOWEVER, it is well-worth the effort.  Noel pronounced it the best venison stew he'd ever had, which I think is quite an endorsement.  It has so many layers of flavor!  I know the family in New Zealand have pretty easy access to venison as we do in Montana, but I'm sure it would be great with beef, too.  Plan has to marinate for 24 hours.
2 cups of dry red wine
Juice of 1 lemon
Juice of 2 limes
2 large bay leaves
2 whole cloves
1 large yellow onion, peeled and sliced
3 carrots, peeled and sliced bite-sized
2 ribs of celery, slices bite-sized
1 large garlic clove, peeled and crushed
½ teaspoon tarragon
Pinch of dried thyme
¼ teaspoon freshly crushed black pepper
1 juniper berry, crushed
½ teaspoon salt
Combine marinade ingredients in a large glass bowl and stir will.  Add:
3 pounds of lean venison cut in 1-inch cubes.  Cover and refrigerate for 1 day.  Turn meat 1 or 2 times in the marinade.
Here's a look at the final product so that you can salivate while waiting for the marinade to do its work.

Remove meat from marinade and dry thoroughly with paper towels.  Reserve marinade.
Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a heavy skillet.  Brown the cubed venison a few pieces at a time, and with a slotted spoon transfer them to a bowl.  Add additional butter to pan as needed.
Transfer all the venison to a large pot.  Pour in 2 tablespoons gin and ignite.  That's the really fun part.
Sauté 3 strips of bacon until crisp.  Crumble and add to the pot with the venison.  Reserve bacon grease.
Slice ¼ pound mushrooms.  Sauté in bacon grease until tender, about 5 minutes. Add more butter, if necessary.  Add mushrooms to the venison in the pot along with the marinade (including all of the vegetables initially put into the marinade).  Set pot over medium heat and cook.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer about an hour.  Season with salt and pepper, to taste.  Serve with love to your favorite people.

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