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?
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, 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, is that it is classy yet rustic. Humble and traditional. People have been eating deer for ages! It’s lean, free range, natrual and not to mention, delicious.
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 sealable zip loc bag and submerge it under cool water (not ice cold) to help the thawing along. It should be thawed in an hour or so. Never thaw in warm water.
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. That color is delicious. Trust me, you don’t want to skip this 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.
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. (kidding)
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’ll be good to cook with it.
Same goes for the beef stock, you’ll need 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. Bring to a boil. Once at a low boil, pop it in that preheated oven to cook for 1-1/2 to 2 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!!
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 let me just tell you, it was out of this world!
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