If you’re fortunate enough to have fresh venison in your life, make some of this rich, dark venison stock. It is a flavor giant and will make you feel like you’ve used the most that your harvest had to offer.
I have two hunters in my family who do a good job of keeping venison in the freezer. They take their harvests to a professional processor and are sure to request bones for stock as well as ribs and neck bones.
Those cuts are likely to be thrown away at the processing facility anyway, and that just seems a crime to me when they make such a super delicious broth. We’re not fans of the ribs as
This recipe can be adapted to any amount of bones you have. It works best with bones that have a lot of meaty bits on them and marrow bones. I start it early in the day and finish in the evening. Once it starts simmering, it requires no attention.
Roasting Builds Rich Dark Venison Stock Flavor
Much in the same way that a burger patty that has been grilled has a much richer flavor that one that has been steamed, roasting your bones really kicks it up, especially for a red meat stock.
We’re going to use the classic French technique of pincage (pronounced pin-sahj) which is simply roasting with tomato paste to deepen the flavor.
Trim your bones of any excess fat. Unlike most animal fat, venison fat really doesn’t taste very good. Oil the bones then season with salt and pepper. Roast them at 400° for 30 minutes.
Brush them with a little bit of tomato paste, then roast for 20-30 minutes more. If you roasted the whole time with the tomato paste on the bones, the paste would burn and give that unmistakable burnt flavor to your stock.
Place the bones in a stock pot and cover with water by about 1 inch. Don’t wash the roasting pan yet!
Extra Flavor from the Fond for Rich Stock
As I said, venison fat isn’t very appealing (and nobody wants a greasy stock, anyway) so pour off the fat. I lay some paper towels in the sink and
If you’re unfamiliar with the term,
Simmer Low and Slow
Bring your stock up to a very gentle simmer and skim off any funky scum that may arise. There is likely to be very little and it will subside quickly. Do not boil. Allow it to simmer gently for about one hour while you go about your day.
After about an hour, add aromatics such as onion, celery, carrots, parsley, bay leaves, peppercorns and some star anise
Adjust the heat on the pot so it’s barely simmering when covered (come back and check to make sure the heat is right) then go save the world for the next 6-8 hours. Or at least rub the dog’s belly and run the sweeper. Maybe wash the car or go out to lunch. (Truly, you can safely leave a barely simmering pot of stock on the stove and leave the house for a little while without burning it down. But I’ll not testify in court about that…)
After your stock has simmered as long as possible, set a colander over a bowl or another pot and fish out the big stuff with tongs and let that drain for a bit, then discard. (I collect all the bones on a tray and pick off the meat for the dog, he loves it.)
Pour the remainder through the colander with whatever sized vessel you need underneath, sometimes it takes more than one bowl or pot. I then strain again through a fine-mesh sieve.
Now you can sit back and look at – and taste – the glory of your rich, dark venison stock which should be yummy even before it’s seasoned.
Chill the stock overnight then skim the fat from the top when it’s cold. I then bring it back up to a simmer and decide if I need to reduce it (simmer down the volume) a little bit or season it as it is. It’s your decision of course on whether to salt it or not. Stock takes a bit more salt than you may think. I like to lightly salt it so I have more control of my finished dish when cooking later on.
Storing Your Stock
This rich, dark venison stock freezes beautifully. I separate it into easy to use portions, say 2 cups each, and freeze. I also pressure can it. If you want to can it, you must use a pressure canner, not the water bath method. Botulism ain’t nuthin’ to fool around with.
How to Cook With Venison Stock
- Soups and stews like Venison Stout Stew
- A base for pan sauces for seared venison steaks
- Sip a cup plain, especially if you’re feeling under the weather
- Just as you would with beef stock, only better!
Dark Venison Stock
- 6-7 lbs meaty venison bones such as ribs, neck and legs
- oil and salt and pepper for roasting bones
- 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 large onion, quartered
- 2-3 carrots, cut up
- 2 ribs celery, cut up
- 8 sprigs fresh parsley
- 2 dried bay leaves
- 2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns
- 1 Tablespoon dried juniper berries (optional)
- 2 pods star anise (optional)
- salt, optional at the end
- Preheat oven 400°. Trim excess fat from venison bones. Lay bones on rimmed sheet pans or other suitable roasting pans; don't crowd them. Rub the bones with a little oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 30 minutes.
- Bring the roasting pan(s) out of the oven and brush the bones on the top sides with the tomato paste. You only need a thin coating. Return to the oven and roast 20-30 minutes more.
- Place bones in a large stockpot and cover with water by 1 inch. Bring to a simmer on med-high heat. Simmer gently for 1 hour. Skim away any scum that might accumulate.
- Meanwhile, drain fat from roasting pans, but don't scrape them. Pour some water in the pans to cover the bottoms and them soak for a little while. Scrape up the brown bits and pour the water and bits into the stockpot.
- Add remaining ingredients to the stockpot, BUT NOT THE OPTIONAL SALT and barely simmer for at least 6 hours or longer if you can. Try not to stir it, stirring will cloud the stock.
- Set a colander over a large bowl or pot. Pull out large chunks with tongs and set them in the colander to drain for a few minutes. Dump the colander out and return it into position. Pour the contents of the stockpot into the colander. It may take more than one bowl or pot to collect all the stock.
- There can be a lot of tiny bits that aren't very desirable, so you'll want to strain your stock again through a fine mesh strainer. As you pour it out, discard the last little bit that contains a lot of this fine debris. It is your choice to salt your stock to taste now or when you cook with it.
- Cool overnight in the refrigerator, then skim off the accumulated fat the next day. Freeze or pressure can in desired amounts.
- Adapt this recipe to as many pounds of bones as you have. There are no hard and fast measurements here. You can add other types of meat bones, as well.
- I remove the large bone sections from the stock and set them on a sheet pan to cool. I then pick off meaty bits for the dog, he loves them. They’re not very tasty to people because the meat is very dried out.
- If your stock seems weak, you can reduce it – simmer it down in volume – to make it stronger. It will taste a lot more robust when it’s properly seasoned with salt.
- If you want to can it for preservation, you must use a pressure canner. Hot water bath canning isn’t safe for stocks and broths.