Venison stew is a winter staple in our house. My husband has always been a hunter and early in our marriage I certainly didn’t appreciate the wild game meat that his hunting provided! Fast-forward 25 years (gulp), and I have a new appreciation for game meat.
Meat from wild animals is grass-fed, antibiotic and hormone free and higher in omega-3 fatty acids. What more can you ask for? Well, I would certainly appreciate it if it came into the house, cut and wrapped, but we do that at home…
I have acquired a taste for wild meat, which is gamier than beef you buy at the store and I love the fact it is better for you. Because it is grass fed, it is lean meat which equates to drier meat and can be tough or tender depending on the cut. Stew is a great way to cook wild game whether it is venison, moose or elk.
1 ½ lb venison, cut into 1” cubes (beef or lamb substitute nicely)
1 large onion, diced
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
4 carrots, cut into pieces
4 stalks celery, cut into pieces
1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into 2” cubes
4 cups bone broth, (venison or beef)
1 cup frozen peas
Coconut oil or other oil
1 tsp dry mustard
2-3 dry bay leaves
1 tsp basil
1 tsp thyme
salt & pepper to taste
tapioca or arrowroot starch to thicken
In a heavy-bottomed pan with oil added, sauté onions, celery, carrots and garlic until slightly softened (about 10 minutes over medium-high heat). Remove veg from the pan and place in the crockpot.
In the meantime, mix together the starch, dry mustard, 1 tsp sea salt and 1 tsp black pepper. Dust meat chunks with starch mixture to coat. Brown the meat in the above pan, over medium-high heat, adding more oil if necessary. When browned remove meat and place over the vegetables in the crockpot.
Add cut squash to the top of the crockpot. I find the squash cooks more quickly than the other vegetables so I like to add it to the top where it doesn’t cook as vigorously.
Deglaze the frying pan with about one cup of broth, being sure to scrape all the browned bits from the bottom. These contain great flavor!
Pour this broth and remaining broth over ingredients in the crockpot. Add bay leaves, basil and thyme. Cook stew on low for 5-7 hours or on high for 3-4. Add frozen peas when stew is finished and thicken with extra starch if necessary.