A Spicy Perspective

Venison Bourguignon

Rich and Earthy Venison Bourguignon, AKA Frenchy Deer Stew.

Venison Bourguignon

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!

Ashevile North Carolina

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.

Venison Stew

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.

How To Make Deer Stew

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!

Easy Venison Recipes

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.

Bouquet Garni

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!

Bourguignon Recipe


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.


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Venison Bourguignon
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5 from 20 votes
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Venison Bourguignon

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours 30 minutes
Total Time: 4 hours
Rich and Earthy Venison Bourguignon, AKA French Deer Stew.
Servings: 6


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil divided
  • 8 ounces chopped bacon
  • 3 pounds deer roast meat chopped into large 2-inch chunks
  • 2 pounds carrots chopped into large chunks
  • 2 onions roughly chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic smashed
  • 1 pound crimini mushrooms halved
  • 1/2 cup brandy
  • 750 mL dry red wine
  • 2 cups venison stock or beef stock
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 bouquet garni a small fresh herb bouquet with thyme, rosemary and a bay leaf
  • 4 tablespoons butter softened
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 pounds baby golden potatoes


  • Heat 1 tablespoon 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 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon 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 tablespoons 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 1/4 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.


Serving: 1serving, Calories: 978kcal, Carbohydrates: 61g, Protein: 69g, Fat: 36g, Saturated Fat: 13g, Cholesterol: 238mg, Sodium: 769mg, Potassium: 2858mg, Fiber: 12g, Sugar: 11g, Vitamin A: 25775IU, Vitamin C: 40.8mg, Calcium: 216mg, Iron: 18.7mg
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, French
Author: Sommer Collier

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103 comments on “Venison Bourguignon”

  1. I made this but I did make some adjustments. I marinated the backstrap in the wine over night, I added the bacon I cooked and at the end the author  suggest a flour butter paste as a thickening I wondered how the flour would cook so I made a cornstarch slurry of 4 Tbs starch and 4 Tbs water. Worked out just fine.

  2. Could you use veal stew meat for this?

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  6. Thank you for this delicious recipe.
    I have now made it about 3 times and it has become one of my favourite dishes. 
    The flavours are amazing!
    The cooking time varies a little bit depending on the venison cut and age.
    It is the perfect meal for entertaining because it prepares well the day before.
    Cannot recommend it warmly enough!
    Best regards 

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  8. This was amazing!  Thank you for the recipe!

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  11. My husband hunts in the fall, but deer meat is not my favorite. Since finding this recipe, I have not made venison any other way Dash and every single person who has it wants the recipe!

    • Was quite delisiousco (deliscious). I skipped va few things it still tastes marvelous, a big step up from basic venison.
      However it tastes way better hot, the leftovers cold didn’t taste right, naturally.

  12. Made this some tougher cuts and it still turned out tender and delicious! Making again this weekend

  13. When I went to print the recipe, it allowed me to adjust it depending on the number of guests and venison on hand – that was very helpful.  The stew is simmering as I write this.  I’m looking forward to tasting in a couple of hours.  Two questions: does brining make the meat salty?  And are the calories listed, 978, for the entire meal (serving 6-8) or per serving?  Thank you for the recipe.

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  18. Followed to the T; till the end 
    Guest numbers got twice , decided to cook spagatini Pasta , drain than cook on pan to dry and add butter to finish , 1 table spoon .
    Used a coffee cup to pack pasta , drop on plate and top with the stew
    OMG what a winner   

  19. Hi, can I also use ‘venison loin’ in this recipe along with the ‘roast meat’ or will it break down too quickly?

  20. Making this today! In the crock pot with the last of last season’s venison. Question, what do you do with the crispy bacon (lardon)?

    • Hi Kathey,

      For this recipe, you really only need the bacon grease. You can either save the bacon bits for another recipe, or you can keep them in and simmer them along with the venison. :)

  21. Excellent! Follow it, don’t deviate from the recipe.

  22. Every time my husband brings home a deer, we make this. It’s a lovely meal. Thank you!

  23. I’ve been making this recipe for years now. It is my go-to dinner party favorite and everyone raves over it. The only change I have made is that instead of flour/butter to thicken I use cream cheese. I start with 2 TBS but usually add in 4-6. I think it adds a level of sweetness to it. Cream cheese takes a long time to dissolve so don’t panic if you see little white lumps. Turn up the heat and give it a good half hour. Also, I always make this a day or two ahead. It just gets better when it sits. I always double the recipe as it freezes really well and I make single servings for my father in law to have.

    I have never brined my meat as this recipe doesn’t need it. If the meat is not tender just cook it longer. I love the taste of venison and this recipe only enhances it.

    • Also, if you get a roast with a silver membrane on it you need to remove as much of it as possible. It is what gives a gamey taste sometimes. I had a 6 lb roast and after removing all membranes and what not it ended up being a 4-1/2 lb roast. So you may have to take off a lot.

  24. Solid recipe but I liked the overall flavor and thought the recipe was easy, but I wasn’t blown away by the flavor of the venison. I thought it was still pretty game forward. Was hoping all the time put in to this recipe would tame the meat a little. 

    Maybe it was my brine? I didn’t have time to buy the spice brand listed in the recipe so I did a brine with spring water, salt, pepper, rosemary & bay leaves for two hours. 

  25. This is the best stew recipe that I have ever made and tasted. It has such rich flavor. I soaked the venison roast overnight in hunter’s brine spice pack that I bought at specialty store. I used fresh thyme, rosemary, and a bay leaf instead of the spice bundle called for in the recipe. It was so tender, moist, and had no gamey taste at all. I served it over biscuits. Got rave reviews from my family!

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  27. In preparation for the Venison Bourguignon, I brined 3 pounds of venison roast for 2 hours in the refrigerator. For the brine I used the recipe for Hog Brine and doubled the quantities to ensure the meat was completely submerged. I followed the Bourguignon recipe to the letter and the result was awesome! I shared some of the Bourguignon with my husband’s hunting mentor and he immediately asked for the recipe. The time soent preparing this dish was more than worth by the many accolades I received. Thanks!!

  28. Made an approximation of this while visiting relatives w/a lot of venison in the freezer. YUM YUM! Will have to look for the juniper berry herb mix before I go back again.

  29. Made the recipe with my InstantPot using elk backstrap chunked up. Meat/stew setting with 15 minutes of natural release. (Roasted potatoes separately). Took about 60 minutes for prep and cooking time. Was excellent! Will definitely make again. 

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  32. This was delicious! Tender meat and vegetables, fabulous rich sauce. SO, so good. Thank you!

  33. This looks absolutely incredible! We would love to feature this venison recipe on our site, and link back to you. Shoot us an email if you wouldn’t mind us sharing!

  34. DELICIOUS!!!!! It was super-easy to make but you’d never know it by the full, rich flavors. Thanks for the recipe!

    • Oh my Goodness! This was FAB! Julia Child would have been proud. I used crockpot on low for 6 hours and it was melt in your mouth good! Easy too. I’m not a cook, so easy is important!

  35. My husband hunts in Idaho each year and usually (pretty much always) brings home an elk. This year I asked him to make some roast for me. We never have issues with gamey like many say, maybe it is how he takes care of the meat (does it all himself) And fed at 9,000 ft or more in Idaho wilderness …well can’t help but be pure goodness. Anyway, I have wanted to try something special and special this was…it was a wonderful recipe and turned out amazing. Meat was tender (I didn’t do the tenderizing at all like you stated) just chunked up the roast and cooked…and it was tender …so I think a lot of times it is the cut and how the meat is cut up and cared for. Anyway…winner winner Frenchy elk stew dinner LOL. The only problem I had was knowing how much fresh herbs to tie into the bundle..you really didn’t say and I am new to buying and using them (this was my first time) so I cut mine down after starting to cook, as it just seemed like to much. Some guide in how to determine how much would be handy :)

  36. As a French I must say that your recipe is really authentic (rare for an American!) one of the most important and known French classic cooking (I’m surprised that it seems not better known outside), but I will add a very important detail in process :
    for extra wine taste and tenderness (recquired I think, for venison, quite hard meat and beef too, which is the frequent use, with the hardest pieces, not good for grill), you must make a marinade 24 hours before cooking placed in a fridge (with the wine, carrots, oinions (hard too) and personally I will add bouquet garni too (everybody’s not agree)).

    And of course quality of the wine is determining! Bourgogne (Burgundy) wine of course (a very fruity type of wine (center of France, quite light, but I guess californian is not bad for that recipe too, and close with Pinot Noir (black) grape and the closest climate with Oregon wine (cooler, Burgundy is a region near Switzerland)))! And eating with the same wine too is perfect (a second (or more?) bottle of course). Bon appétit!

    the version of the missing Bernard Loiseau (quite close but I think Brandy is better than vinegar, I’m agree with you! Bravo for that!): http://madame.lefigaro.fr/recettes/boeuf-bourguignon-de-bernard-loiseau-070601-201797

  37. I made this using beef short ribs and venison steak and it was amazing. Thanks for posting your recipe and the pics!

  38. I’ve fixed beef bourguignon from Julia Childs french cookbook and this was every bit as good. I come from a family of hunters so when I saw this recipe I had to make it. Venison is extremely good meat as it’s very lean. This one goes in the recipe box. Oh! Don’t forget crusty french bread.

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  40. Maybe I missed it. Cooking this as I type. What do I do the chopped bacon? Does it go in during cooking, or just a garnish after?

  41. Just made this today, sooooo good! I’ve long been intimidated by bourguignon but your pictures and directions broke it down beautifully. Perfect dish for a chilly night with a boule of lovely, crusty bread. Thank you for the wonderful recipe, venison never tasted so good.

  42. My husband just killed a nice deer, and brought home a lovely roast for me to make. This is the perfect recipe. I do have one question: will browning the deer dry it out? I’ve cooked venision a lot and know it has a tendency to become very tough, very quickly. Nevous, but eager to try this.

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  44. On the stove simmering as we speak! Gonna serve it with a cauliflower/squash flavoured with dijon mustard and parmesan. The aromas in the house are amazing – thanks for the lovely recipe :-)

  45. I’ve just followed this recipe for Mother’s Day (UK) and cooked it for my wife and mother, I we all loved it. Well done!

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  48. Sommer, could you post the recipe for the brine?

  49. thank you for this recipe. i made this recently, with slight alterations, to much success. other than the venison, i thought the mushrooms came out so great in this dish. it was the most perfect stew to tuck into with the cold weather we’re experiencing.

  50. I’ve never cooked with venison before, but this is totally making me drool right now. I love the way the fingerling potatoes look in the dish. I’m sure they add a nice crispy contrast to the tender meat n veg.

  51. Ok. My husband just put it on to simmer. fingers crossed!

  52. I’m with you…gotta have my meat. And it’s usually venison. I’ve been wanting to try Venison Bourguignon and just have never gotten around to it. This looks too good not to make though. Thanks!

  53. This is simply gorgeous. I was reading this recipe while at the lake house this weekend and immediately thought of this dish when I spotted a deer in the woods. I’m an awful person. But you started it :)

  54. The next time I find myself with a gift of venison, I will certainly make this stew! Yum. The photos are gorgeous as well.

  55. Mmmmm. This sounds amazing. I am hoping some friends of mine bless me with some more venison this year – it was awesome to have last year and this bourguignon would be delicious in my tummy. This carnivore is salivating at the idea already.

  56. I recently tried venison jerky and venison stew at a farm out in VA. It was surprisingly pretty good and I got over my fears of trying this meat. Your recipe definitely deals with this precious and delicate protein in a beautiful way.

  57. The only meat I’m sad about eating is bunny xD

  58. PS – love the green pot we both have – as always! ;)

  59. Your photos are stunning, Sommer.
    But, venison is not my kind of meat. Far, far too gamy. I have even tried a 24 hour wild meat brine herb and onion mix that is to diminish the gaminess and break down the toughness of the meat… but, still couldn’t handle it. Yours looks divine, but I will stick with my traditional recipe – have a great (also lengthy) one on my site… and I do enjoy wild meat – a lot. Just not deer.
    Bravo to you for taking this on!

  60. My sister tried Venison and said that it was delicious. I should send her this recipe. Your pics are really good.

  61. Wow I didn’t know people still did archery and hunting! I love vension meat, the flavour is amazing and what makes it better is that you can’t get it so often, so when you do have it’s extra special :)

  62. Venison can be tricky so brining it was a great idea. Putting it in a crockpot for several hours also works.

  63. Your dish looks mouthwatering!

  64. Not sure I have ever tried venison, this dish looks like a great way to start!

  65. Now that is a bourguignon that I could eat over and over again. What a stunning dish, Sommer.

  66. I love all the colorful photos you take! So beautiful!

  67. I am just like you in the fact that I need meat too! Love it! However, I have yet to try deer meat. It actually looks quite yummy!

  68. You definitely honored the meat with this recipe. I love well-cooked venison (and boar too!) and this is a must-try. I don’t know anyone who hunts, though, and I will admit that it is probably not my cup of tea as a pursuit, so I think I will get some venison online from D’Artagnan, as you have really inspired me with this dish.

  69. I’m a big fan of venison, too! I’m working my way through a pot venison chili right now. At Christmas, I always try to get a venison tenderloin (garlic and peppercorn crust—mmmmmmm!). Never thought about doing a bourguignon.

  70. Ohhh…Dear Sommer, What a beautiful recipe! That venison stew looks breath-taking–And that last pic is making me absolutely hungry :) Just lovely!

    HUGS <3

  71. There is a deer farm just across the valley from us and I picked up my winter stash of venison last week (she culls and butchers in the fall – and the meat goes fast). Great recipe!

  72. Venison stew…I don’t think I am ever able to prepare something like this…you are truly talented!

  73. Thankyou, thankyou, thankyou! My husband is a hunter and I ALWAYS struggle with new recipes for all the venison we end up with! What a fantastic idea! Can’t wait to try it!

  74. I wish I had friends like this…my husband loves game meat but is not the best at actually getting it for us.

  75. not crazy about venison myself, but if I manage to talk Hubby into cooking this for me, you can bet I’ll try it. looks delish here!!

  76. What a scrumptious take on a classic! This looks so delicious. Lovely shots too!

  77. Gorgeous, and I am in love with that wine pouring shot! IN LOVE!

  78. I love venison, my brother in law is an avid hunter and always makes sure to send me the best cute (smile) we make vension tamales, yum! It’s pretty nippy here in Texas I would love a huge bowl of this, thanks sommer!

  79. I love the flavor of game!

    Your photos look like they should be in a magazine, they’re so gorgeous!

  80. My father and brother are returning from a hunting trip. I don’t yet know how it went, but I do know they enjoy being outdoors. The venison stew looks delicious.

  81. Wow.. this looks amazing! I have never had venison (I don’t think I could find it in NYC if I tried!!) but I am dying to try it. I love how you prepared it here.. mouthwatering!

  82. Amen! This looks incredible. I love venison soooo much.

  83. This looks wonderful. My husband would think he had died and gone to heaven if I made this — he loves venison.

  84. This is so beautiful (and delicious!) looking. I love venison. I grew up eating a lot of game meat so this is right up my alley…yum!

  85. I have been a huge fan of venison but I’ve also never brined it. I can honestly say I would have no problem eating this dish. You did a great job at giving it a rustic yet gourmet feel!

  86. This looks absolutely delicious. I shared with a friend who loves to cook and has access to venison as her husband is an avid bow hunter. I am hoping she makes this and invites me over to enjoy it (hint, hint…).

    I love the photos — the op of turquoise in the napkins was a nice touch. Like that it wasn’t a “fall” color!

  87. We all love to hunt so currently I have quite a bit of elk and venison in my freezer. I will have to try this I’m am sure it is as delicious as it looks.

  88. I absolutely love venison, we have it a lot back home in Germany. In fact, I can’t wait to go back in December. We had a lovely stag dish at our wedding reception, too! :)
    This looks absolutely delicious, wonderful recipe!

  89. This is a dish which I have eaten before but I particularly love the way you have cooked and presented it. I eat a lot of venison and your precise recipe is definitely one I will be trying in the near future. Thanks for the inspiration!

  90. That looks so tasty. I do love my venison! And I love it in stew also!

  91. To die for photos, by the way.

  92. I’m a card-carrying member of PETA and I didn’t take offense at this recipe. (People Eating Tasty Animals.) Cheers!