Rich and Earthy Venison Bourguignon, AKA Frenchy Deer Stew.
Sooooooo, today we’re talking about deer meat. Animal lovers, please don’t be upset. I know deer have long pretty eyelashes and remind us of Bambi, but they also taste delicious and venison offers many health benefits. …in addition, I personally NEED meat. Due to some deep ancestral urge, my body craves it and I feel slightly bipolar without it. Am I forgiven? Sweet!
We’ve made some really great friends in the last 7 years we’ve lived in Asheville, NC. Being a place of extreme contrast we’ve got strict vegetarian buddies and friends that are carnivorous game hunters. We love and respect them all, but I’ve got to say, I love me some meat. Especially meat that I can’t buy at the grocery store.
A close friend of ours, Brad Wright, owns an archery business called Crooked Arrow Archery selling high quality bow hunting supplies. Brad is an accomplished archer who has placed in the Top 5 in state archery competitions over the last two years. He is a PSE Field Staff member and is also a Pro Staff member of the hit TV Show Antler Freaks. As an avid archer, Brad takes hunting season very seriously. Hunting is not only viewed as a sport, but as an art form and means of providing for his family.
Each successful hunt provides weeks of some of the highest quality red meat found in the states. Venison is considered one of the healthiest red meats because it is high in protein, iron and vitamin B, but extremely low in fat.
Brad is not only an archer and hunter, but a great game cook as well. He explained that the “wild” flavor some people have an aversion to is not necessarily based on the natural flavor of the dear meat, but often on poor butchery skills. He revealed that if deer meat tastes wild, brining will tenderize the meat and soften the flavor. Brad generously gave me a 3 pound deer roast (and a giant bone for my dog) to which we both jumped up and down with sheer delight!
With this precious piece of protein, I wanted to make something lavish yet rustic. Something that would allow the venison flavor to shine, but offer plenty on contrast. Venison Bourguignon was the answer.
This rich french stew of red meat, red wine, herbs and butter was the perfect way to “honor” the deer meat and delight those partaking. The bourguignon broth is more of a luxurious gravy bathing tender veggies and melt-in-your-mouth morsels of deer meat. I served the deer stew over a bed of roasted baby potatoes.
Something this special takes times. Venison Bourguignon is not a quick throw-together mid-week meal–save this for the weekend and savor it with good wine and great friends!
Before I started the Venison Bourguignon, I brined the meat for one hour in salt water and a “Wild Game Blend” with juniper berries from Asheville’s Spice & Tea Exchange. This tenderized the deer meat, helping it to break down better.
Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours 30 minutes
3 Tb. olive oil, divided
8 oz. chopped bacon
3 lbs. deer roast meat, chopped into large 2 inch chunks
2 lbs. carrots, chopped into large chunks
2 onions, roughly chopped
6 cloves garlic, smashed
1 lb. crimini mushrooms, halved
½ cup Brandy
1 bottle (750 ml) dry red wine
2 cups Venison stock (sub. beef stock)
2 Tb. tomato paste
1 Bouquet Garni (small fresh herb bouquet with thyme, rosemary and a bay leaf)
4 Tb. butter, softened
¼ cup flour
Salt and Pepper
3 lbs. baby golden potatoes
Heat 1 Tb. oil in a large saucepot. Add the bacon and cook over medium heat until brown and crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
Next pat the venison chunks dry with a paper towel and salt and pepper to taste. Brown the deer meat on all sides. Then remove with a slotted spoon.
Add the onions, garlic, and carrots to the pot. Cook and stir for several minutes until the onions have softened, then add the mushrooms and cook another 5-10 minutes.
Add all meat back to the pot, followed by: brandy, wine, stock, and tomato paste. Add 1 tsp. salt and 1 tsp. pepper and stir well. Then add the bouquet garni and cover.
Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for approximately 3 hours until the venison is very tender.
In the last hour of simmering, preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
Place the mini potatoes on a rimmed baking sheet and toss with 2 Tb. oil, salt and pepper.
Roast for 35-45 minutes until tender, tossing once in the middle.
Once the venison is tender, mix half a stick of softened butter with ¼ cup of flour. Use a fork to press into a paste.
Slowly stir the butter mixture into the stew until the desired thickness in reached—I like to add it all!
Salt and pepper to taste if needed.
TRY VENISON IN:
Corned Venison ~ Georgia Pellegrini
Venison Sausage ~ Hunter Angler Gardener Cook
Venison Artichoke and Goat Cheese Pizza ~ Woodburn Venison
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