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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68 comments on “Venison Bourguignon

  1. Steve @ HPDposted November 10, 2011 at 7:28 am Reply

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

  2. Steve @ HPDposted November 10, 2011 at 7:29 am Reply

    To die for photos, by the way.

  3. Curtposted November 10, 2011 at 7:56 am Reply

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

  4. Gordon Hamiltonposted November 10, 2011 at 8:16 am Reply

    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!

  5. Kiri W.posted November 10, 2011 at 9:24 am Reply

    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!

  6. MIss @ Miss in the Kitchenposted November 10, 2011 at 8:54 am Reply

    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.

    • Susan 30A EATSposted December 13, 2012 at 2:14 pm Reply

      Miss- I’ll make you my Festive Champagne Mojito you wanted to try, if you will share your venison!! ;) This recipe is to die for and the photos incredible!

      • Sommerposted December 13, 2012 at 8:01 pm

        Sounds like a plan!!

  7. Bev Weidnerposted November 10, 2011 at 9:14 am Reply

    Um, AWESOME.

  8. Kateposted November 10, 2011 at 9:46 am Reply

    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!

  9. Krista {Budget Gourmet Mom}posted November 10, 2011 at 9:51 am Reply

    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!

  10. Nutmeg Nannyposted November 10, 2011 at 9:58 am Reply

    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!

  11. Fresh and Foodieposted November 10, 2011 at 10:13 am Reply

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

  12. Georgia Pellegriniposted November 10, 2011 at 10:28 am Reply

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

  13. Alison @ Ingredients, Inc.posted November 10, 2011 at 1:00 pm Reply

    wow what a great idea!

  14. The Elegant Eggplantposted November 10, 2011 at 3:03 pm Reply

    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!

  15. Bonnie Kposted November 10, 2011 at 3:22 pm Reply

    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.

  16. DessertForTwoposted November 10, 2011 at 3:27 pm Reply

    I love the flavor of game!

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

  17. vianneyposted November 10, 2011 at 3:52 pm Reply

    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!

  18. jennifurlaposted November 10, 2011 at 3:53 pm Reply

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

  19. Russell van Kraayenburgposted November 10, 2011 at 7:23 pm Reply

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

  20. Dmarieposted November 10, 2011 at 7:01 pm Reply

    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!!

  21. Emily @ Life on Foodposted November 10, 2011 at 7:39 pm Reply

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

  22. Poemposted November 10, 2011 at 9:40 pm Reply

    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!

  23. Angie's Recipesposted November 10, 2011 at 11:35 pm Reply

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

  24. Kateposted November 11, 2011 at 1:29 am Reply

    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!

  25. Aldy @ Al Dente Gourmetposted November 11, 2011 at 3:16 am Reply

    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

  26. Alisonposted November 11, 2011 at 5:44 am Reply

    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.

  27. Trixposted November 11, 2011 at 6:56 am Reply

    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.

  28. Amy @ Gastronome Tartposted November 11, 2011 at 9:16 am Reply

    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!

  29. Laurenposted November 11, 2011 at 11:44 am Reply

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

  30. Cookin' Canuckposted November 11, 2011 at 6:10 pm Reply

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

  31. marlaposted November 11, 2011 at 9:43 pm Reply

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

  32. Cherineposted November 12, 2011 at 2:01 am Reply

    Your dish looks mouthwatering!

  33. Anne-Marie @ This Mama Cooks!posted November 12, 2011 at 9:40 am Reply

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

  34. Pudding Pie Laneposted November 12, 2011 at 11:49 am Reply

    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 :)

  35. Heleneposted November 12, 2011 at 5:06 pm Reply

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

  36. A Canadian Foodieposted November 12, 2011 at 5:25 pm Reply

    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!

  37. A Canadian Foodieposted November 12, 2011 at 5:26 pm Reply

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

  38. Mariaposted November 13, 2011 at 11:34 am Reply

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

  39. A Brown Tableposted November 13, 2011 at 6:49 pm Reply

    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.

  40. Kitaposted November 13, 2011 at 8:42 pm Reply

    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.

  41. Erinposted November 13, 2011 at 11:20 pm Reply

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

  42. Grubarazzi (@Grubarazzi)posted November 14, 2011 at 11:14 am Reply

    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 :)

  43. Susanposted November 16, 2011 at 5:33 am Reply

    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!

  44. Julieposted November 16, 2011 at 5:10 pm Reply

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

  45. Brandon @ Kitchen Konfidenceposted November 28, 2011 at 4:20 pm Reply

    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.

  46. Lanposted January 4, 2012 at 8:02 am Reply

    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.

  47. marnaeposted January 26, 2012 at 11:18 am Reply

    Sommer, could you post the recipe for the brine?

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  50. Tim Hposted March 10, 2013 at 12:57 pm Reply

    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!

  51. Sarah in NZposted September 10, 2013 at 1:38 am Reply

    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 :-)

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  53. Hannahposted October 11, 2013 at 7:13 am Reply

    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.

  54. Meredith Ryanposted October 12, 2013 at 5:37 pm Reply

    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.

  55. Robinposted November 25, 2013 at 4:39 pm Reply

    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?

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  57. Juliaposted December 24, 2013 at 5:14 pm Reply

    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.

  58. Lisa B.posted January 18, 2014 at 8:42 pm Reply

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

  59. Marcposted January 22, 2014 at 5:41 pm Reply

    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!):

  60. Kaye Huskoposted November 15, 2014 at 9:57 am Reply

    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 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 :)

  61. Rosanaposted December 9, 2014 at 10:56 am Reply

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

    • Amy Gposted January 14, 2015 at 7:21 am Reply

      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!

  62. People Eating Tasty Animalsposted January 28, 2015 at 11:17 am Reply

    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!

  63. Lucyposted February 1, 2015 at 8:21 am Reply

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

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