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Venison stew
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5 from 1 vote

Venison and Stout Stew

Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time1 hr 30 mins
Servings: 6 people

Ingredients

  • 6 slices bacon, diced ¼"
  • 2 lbs. venison or beef stew meat
  • salt & pepper for seasoning meat
  • 1 large onion, diced ½"
  • 2 ribs celery, diced ¼"
  • 2 teaspoons chopped garlic
  • Pinch red pepper flakes (optional, but good)
  • 3 Tablespoons flour
  • 12 oz dark stout beer (1 bottle)
  • cups beef or venison stock
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 8 oz fresh mushrooms, quartered or halved
  • 6 carrots, peeled and cut in 1" pieces
  • 3 medium gold or russet potatoes, cut in 1" cubes
  • teaspoons dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°. Pat stew meat dry with paper towels.
  • In an oven-safe Dutch oven on medium heat on the stove top, cook the chopped bacon until crispy, then remove. Pour off all but about 2 Tablespoons of bacon fat.
  • Heat the bacon fat in the Dutch oven on medium high heat. Sprinkle the meat liberally with salt and pepper and sear it in batches in the bacon fat. Don't crowd the pan. Turn the meat chunks over as they become nicely browned. Remove.
  • Sauté the onion and celery on medium heat in the Dutch oven for about 5 minutes. Don't brown them. Add the garlic, red pepper flakes and flour and stir. Whisk in the beer, stock, vinegar and brown sugar, scraping up the brown bits crusted on the pan as you whisk. Add the thyme, salt and pepper.
  • Return the meat and bacon to the pot. Add in the mushrooms, carrots and potatoes. Bring to a boil for just a minute to ensure you're placing hot stew into the oven.
  • Cover the pot and place it in the oven for 1½ hours. You may need to remove an upper rack to easily fit the pot in the oven.
  • Remove the pot and taste the meat. If it's tender, it's ready. If it's still a little tough and chewy, return to the oven in 15 minute increments. Adjust the salt and pepper seasoning while you're tasting.
  • Serve with a salad and/or bread or muffins.

Notes

  • I like to cook a little extra chopped bacon for a crispy garnish when serving.
  • Light brown sugar works well in place of dark brown sugar.
  • If you can't place the pot in the oven, you can gently simmer the stew on the stove top for the same length of time.  Just make sure it's tightly covered and at a bare bubble.  Stir now and again so the bottom doesn't crust.
  • If you'd like a gluten free stew, skip the flour and thicken the stew at the very end of cooking with a cornstarch slurry.  Stir 2 teaspoons of cornstarch into 2 tablespoons of broth and stir into the stew after it's done in the oven.  If you were to add the slurry to the beginning of the cooking process, the cornstarch's thickening power might not last.  
  • This stew is terrific when made ahead - the flavors only deepen.