Braised Venison Stew in a Red Wine and Bitter Chocolate Sauce

Finally the post you’ve been waiting for! Braised Venison Stew in a Red Wine and Bitter Chocolate Sauce. Well okay so I already blogged this before back when I did the Project Food Blog: Dinner Party Challenge, but it didn’t include step-by-step photos, so I’m giving them to you now. No sense in wasting these babies… right?

Braised Venison Stew in a Red Wine and Bitter Chocolate Sauce l

This recipe is adapted from Chef Gordon Ramsay and his recipe for Venison Stew with Bitter Chocolate. I stumbled upon his recipe when I Googled “Venison Recipes” and it was like fate. It was classy, rustic and ME! Although I didn’t “move on” to the next round… it didn’t matter. I stayed true to myself and what I like to cook. I even converted this recipe over from the metric system to the standard American system for everyone. I’m not gonna lie it was harder than I thought!

So as I sit here editing these photos, all 63 of them, it reminds me of how good this dish is, and how fun that night was! I now have a strong craving for another bowl of this soul warming stew.

Venison. I happen to love it! Do you? When I stumbled upon this recipe I was like HECK YEAH! The thing about venison… in my opinion {which isn’t saying much} is that it is classy yet rustic… humble, historical and traditional. People have been eating deer for ages! It’s lean, free range, organic and tasty!

Season the all purpose flour generously with kosher salt and black pepper. I put the flour in an old bread bag or produce bag. Yes I’m one of those who reuse bags. Heck they make great trash bags, lunch bags and flour shaking bags!

You should make sure the venison is thawed well… since rarely does it come fresh. I place my venison stew meat packages in a large zip loc bag and submerge it under cool water {not COLD} to help the thawing along. It should be thawed in an hour or so. Never thaw in warm water… ever.

Once thawed, working in batches, shake the venison in the seasoned flour mixture until coated.

Set aside in another bag or a bowl until ready to use.

Cut the bacon into pretty large 1 inch pieces because they shrink a little when they get all golden and crispy. Add the bacon to your dutch oven and cook on medium until crispy.

After the bacon is done remove it to a towel lined plate to drain. Thank you. :p

Working in batches, between medium and medium high heat, add the venison to the bacon fat and brown on all sides.

Browned food = GOOD FOOD!

When the venison is done remove to a plate and repeat until all the venison has been browned. Remember you are not cooking the meat all the way through… there just needs to be some color to the venison… and that color is delicious. Trust me… don’t skip that step!

While I was browning the meat I was also prepping the vegetables. Now would also be a good time to preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

I quartered the shallots, but I keep a little of the root intact so that they hold their shape a little. The idea is to have pretty chunks of shallot through out… but you don’t have to be so fancy… sometime they just come apart in the braising part anyways.

But if you dooooo than trim off the root part and cut the shallot in half from root to tip, then into four sections.

Smash the garlic, quarter the shallots, halve some mushrooms, roughly {large} chop the celery, carrots and turnips.  Get out your bay leaf, pepper corn medley and a couple springs of fresh thyme.

After the venison is finished… add the garlic, shallots and mushrooms to the pot.

Sauté until the shallots are slightly soft and the mushrooms are slightly golden. Approximately two to three minutes.

Then add in the turnips, carrots, and celery… crack some fresh pepper.

Add in the fresh thyme and the bay leaf. Give it a toss and sauté for about 6 minutes.

While that is sautéing… measure out the wine. It is two cups… which leaves you a little to sip on the side…

…which I may or may not have done…

…straight out of the bottle… *hiccup*


Add the venison and the bacon back into the pot and pour in that yummy wine!

What kind of wine you ask? Well I use my favorite Merlot. This one was an $8 bottle of wine… as long as it’s a wine you like to drink… you should cook with it.

Same goes for the beef stock… 2 cups. I probably won’t be pouring myself a glass of this though.

Give it a good stir, scrapping the bottom to get all those brown bits of goodness… then bring to a boil. Once at a slow boil… pop it in that preheated oven to cook for 1 hour and 30 minutes… but up to two hours.

Now here comes the fun part. Remove the pot from the oven and strain the meat and vegetables through a large sieve or colander, set over a saucepan to catch the sauce. Return the meat and vegetable back to the pot to keep warm. {Now would be good to remove the thyme and bay leaf}.

Now for the chocolate. The recipe calls for a dark bitter chocolate… specifying that it be 70% cocoa solids. I grated an ounce into the sauce using my microplane and when the chocolate hit the wine/stock it smelled AH-MAZING!!

Braised Venison Stew in a Red Wine and Bitter Chocolate Sauce l
Then that is it! I poured the sauce back over the venison and the vegetables, and then served! When I served this to the guests at my dinner party, it was along with those awesome Whole Wheat, Rosemary and Caramelized Onion Rolls… we dunked the rolls in the stew and lemme-just-tell-you… it was out of this world!

Enjoy! And if you give this Braised Venison Stew in a Red Wine and Bitter Chocolate Sauce recipe a try, let me know by snapping a photo and tagging me on twitter or instagram!

Braised Venison Stew in a Red Wine and Bitter Chocolate Sauce l

My cookbook Simply Scratch : 120 Wholesome Homemade Recipes Made Easy is now available! CLICK HERE for details and THANK YOU in advance! 


Braised Venison Stew in a Red Wine & Bitter Chocolate Sauce

Finally the post you've been waiting for! Braised Venison Stew in a Red Wine & Bitter Chocolate Sauce. SO deliciously rich and hearty.

Yield: 6-8 servings

Prep Time: 40 minutes

Cook Time: 1-1/2 to 2 hours

Total Time: about 3 hours


Olive Oil, for cooking

1/2 pound of Smoked Bacon, chopped

2-3 pounds of venison {shoulder}, cut into chunks

3-4 tablespoons flour, seasoned with a teaspoon of each Kosher

Salt and Black Pepper

3 Shallots, peeled and roughly chopped

2 Garlic Cloves, peeled and crushed

2-3 large Carrots, peeled and roughly chopped

2-3 stalks of Celery, roughly chopped

4 small Turnips, peeled and cut into chunks

8 Button Mushrooms, cleaned and halved

Few Thyme sprigs

2 Bay Leaves

1 teaspoon mixed peppercorns, crushed

500 ml or 3/4 a bottle of Red Wine

2 cups of Beef Stock

1 ounce Dark Chocolate {70 percent cocoa solids}, grated to taste

Gordon Ramsay's Venison Stew with Bitter Chocolate


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Drizzle a little oil into a large ovenproof dutch oven and sauté the bacon for 4-5 minutes over a moderate heat until lightly golden. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Put the chunks of venison in a large bowl or plastic bag with the seasoned flour and toss well to coat. Shake off the excess flour. Add a little more oil {if needed} to the dutch oven and fry the venison in batches over a moderate to high heat, until browned on all sides. Remove from the pot and set aside with the bacon.

Add a final drizzle of oil to the casserole dish and add in the shallots, garlic, and mushrooms. When golden in color add the carrots, celery and turnips. Sauté the vegetables with the herbs and crushed peppercorns for about 6-8 minutes, stirring frequently.

Return the bacon and venison to the dutch oven and pour in the red wine. Give everything a good stir with a wooden spoon, scraping the bottom of the dish to loosen any sediment. Bring the wine to the boil, then pour in the stock and add some salt and pepper. Return to a boil again and then cover with a lid. Transfer to the oven and cook for 1½ to 2 hours, or until tender.

Remove the casserole from the oven and strain the meat and vegetables through a large sieve or colander, set over a saucepan to catch the sauce. Discard the bay leaves and thyme. Place the meat and vegetables back into the dish and cover to keep warm.

Take the pan off the heat and whisk in the chocolate until it melts and the sauce is smooth. (If it turns grainy, pass it through a fine sieve.) Taste and adjust the seasoning, then pour the sauce over the venison and vegetables and stir well.

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11 Responses to “Braised Venison Stew in a Red Wine and Bitter Chocolate Sauce”

  1. #
    Mrsblocko — November 6, 2010 at 2:10 pm

    Do you think this recipe would work as well with beef? I'm not a fan of venison, but the combo of other ingredients sounds delicious.

  2. #
    Peggy — November 6, 2010 at 4:58 pm

    I can't recall that I've ever had venison so this is definitely something I would try because I'm all about trying new things! The combinations of ingredients and flavors seems out of this world! Can't wait to get my hands on some venison!

  3. #
    Haley — November 6, 2010 at 5:06 pm

    I've never had Venison before, but this recipe excites me because my boyfriend just shot a buck last weekend. I will definitely be trying this recipe when we get our meat!

  4. #
    Laurie @simplyscratch — November 6, 2010 at 7:51 pm

    Mrsblocko… I don't see why not. I would love to hear about how it turned out! Good Luck! 🙂

  5. #
    Mary — November 8, 2010 at 5:07 am

    What a delicious-looking post! I cook with caribou more often than with venison (my uncle is a hunter), but I bet venison would be great in this stew. I love bourguignon and I bet the chocolate really added a special something to the sauce. Silly Foodbuzz voters for not moving you to the next round.

  6. #
    6 — November 8, 2010 at 7:12 pm


  7. #
    jennaseverythingblog — November 8, 2010 at 8:25 pm

    Oh man . . . you are making me so hungry! I have to try this. I have a coworker who hunts on the weekends and has been known to bring me the occasional piece of venison (though usually steaks or bacon). I'll have to see if I can get the hookup through him.

  8. #
    The Cilantropist — November 12, 2010 at 1:59 am

    OMG laurie this recipe looks incredible!!! I feel like I need to find some venison and make this right away! My boyfriend, who is Norwegian, grew up eating all sort of 'gamey' meats like venison so I bet he would love this, and esp the sauce. thanks SO much for sharing, such a perfect dish for fall. 🙂

  9. #
    Molly Sypder — January 28, 2011 at 12:21 am

    I made this Recipe for a Robert Burn's night dinner and my friends were almost licking their bowls, wondering what that undercurrent of flavor was. When they found out it was chocolate, they were amazed. Thanks for posting this- it tastes even better than it sounds.

  10. #
    Kirsty — August 3, 2017 at 11:14 pm

    I made this recipe a week ago and it was amazing!!! My boyfriend and I recently took a vacation and we were able to take a wine tour. We had acquired a good amount of bottles, and wanted to cook with one! We bought a beautiful bottle of merlot which was PERFECT for this stew. We don’t have an oven safe pot so we had to simmer over the stove, but it still turned out great. The chocolate added such a savoury component, who would’ve thought. I didn’t have any vinegar based hot sauce on hand like Tabasco, as this would’ve cut through the richness of the stew, but I would recommend a couple dashes if anyone were to make this. Such a delicious and hearty stew, we had it with more red wine and a home made charcuterie board. Absolutely divine.



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