Venison stew really is the perfect comfort food. Not only does it taste great, but the aroma as it cooks make the entire home smell fantastic. And the fact that most venison stew recipes are one-pot meals—and therefore require minimal cleanup—makes them even better. Here, we’ve collected four of our best and most flavorful venison recipes that we’ve published over the years into one useful guide for venison stew recipe ideas. Enjoy.
Table of Contents
- Carbonnade: Our Favorite Venison Stew Recipe
- Green Chile Venison Stew
- Venison Posole
- Venison Bigos
Carbonnade: Our Favorite Venison Stew Recipe
Carbonnade is a traditional, rib-sticking Belgian stew made with beef, onions, and a spike of dark beer. Adapted for wild game, this venison stew recipe is the perfect remedy for a cold day in the field, and a sly way to integrate the two primary hunting-camp food groups (those being meat and beer). Meat from deer or moose will be equally good here.
Venison Stew Ingredients
- 3 lb. venison stew meat, cut into 2-inch cubes
- 2 Tbsp. butter
- 4 slices bacon, chopped
- 3 yellow onions, chopped
- 1 Tbsp. dark brown sugar
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 16 oz. Belgian dark strong ale or other dark flavorful beer
- 1 cup (or more) chicken stock
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tsp. dried thyme
- 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar (or lemon juice)
- 1⁄4 cup chopped parsley
- Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- Heat a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the butter and bacon, and cook until barely crispy. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon, reserving for later. Dry the venison with paper towels, then salt and pepper generously. Add the meat to the pot, in batches to avoid overcrowding, and raise the heat to high. Sear the meat well on all sides, then remove to a plate.
- Add the onions and brown sugar to the pot or Dutch oven and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes, or until the onions are soft and caramelized, with a deep golden-brown color. Stir in the garlic and cook for 2 more minutes.
- Raise the heat to medium-high. Pour in the beer and scrape the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon to dislodge any tasty brown bits. Bring to a boil, then add the reserved bacon and the meat along with any accumulated juices. Add the chicken stock (you may need more than a cup to cover the meat), bay leaf, and thyme, and bring to a low simmer. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer until the meat is very tender, about 2 hours.
- Before serving, uncover and raise the heat to medium to bring the stew to a fast simmer. Simmer for about 10 minutes, or until the liquids are reduced to a saucelike consistency. Stir in the vinegar or lemon juice, and check the seasoning, adding salt and pepper as needed. Serve the stew over buttered egg noodles or dumplings, if desired, topping each bowl with a sprinkling of parsley. Serves 6
Green Chile Venison Stew Recipe
Here’s a flavorful and simple venison stew recipe inspired by the Native American cooking of the Southwest. The marriage of mild chiles and venison is a classic one, and this is especially good with Apache bread—cornmeal and bacon fat, roasted in a corn husk—crumbled on top. If you’re in the Southwest, use the best green chiles you can find. For the rest of us, the canned variety sold in most grocery stores (Old El Paso, etc.) will suffice just fine. Figure on four 7-ounce cans, and drain the chiles before adding to the stew.
- 8 dried corn husks
- 3/4 cup white cornmeal
- 3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
- 3/4 cup boiling water
- 1/4 cup plus 1 Tbsp. bacon drippings
- 2 lb. venison, cut in 1-inch cubes
- 4 Tbsp. vegetable oil
- 2 onions, diced
- 1 Tbsp. minced garlic
- 2 bay leaves
- 6 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth
- 3 cups roasted, peeled, chopped green chiles
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
- 2 Tbsp. cilantro, finely chopped
- Make the Apache bread. Soak the dried corn husks (available at many grocery stores and Latin American markets) in water until soft and pliable, about 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine the cornmeals in a medium bowl with salt and pepper, then add the boiling water and bacon drippings and stir with a wooden spoon until a dough forms. Using your hands, form the dough into eight fat cylinders, then wrap these with the corn husks, tying the ends with kitchen twine. Place the filled husks on a baking sheet and bake for 1 hour.
- Start the stew. Dry the meat, and salt and pepper generously. Heat the oil over high heat in a Dutch oven, and brown the meat in batches so as not to crowd the pot. Use additional oil, if necessary. Remove the meat and set aside.
- You should have about 3 Tbsp. oil left in the pan; add more if needed. Add the onions, reduce the heat to medium, and saute until limp and golden; then stir in the garlic and saute for 1 minute. Return the meat, and any juices, to the pot, then add the bay leaves and chicken stock and bring to a boil.
- Reduce the heat to low and skim any impurities from the surface. Simmer, covered, for 1 hour, then remove the cover and simmer for 30 minutes more. Add the chiles and bell pepper, and cook for 15 minutes. Add the cilantro, salt and pepper to taste, and serve with the warm bread, removed from the husks, on the side. Serves 4-6
Venison Posole Recipe
Posole (pronounced poh-SOH-lay) is a Mexican stew recipe that dates back centuries. It’s traditionally made by simmering pork with chiles and hominy (hulled corn kernels), but adding venison to the pot lends the stew a richer and more vibrant character. The chef and cookbook writer David Tanis calls for a combination of pork shoulder and pork belly in his fantastic recipe for posole, which we’ve adapted here by swapping in venison for the shoulder but retaining the unctuous pork belly. If you can’t find belly, just use some fatty pork shoulder. Dried hominy is widely available in the Latin section of supermarkets; if canned is your only option, however, drain and rinse it and add during the final half hour of cooking.
- 2 lb. venison, cut into 1 1⁄2-inch chunks
- 11⁄2 lb. dried hominy (posole), soaked overnight in cold water
- 3 oz. dried red New Mexico chiles
- 2 lb. fresh pork belly, cut into 1 1⁄2-inch chunks
- 1 large yellow onion, peeled and halved
- 1 Tbsp. chopped garlic
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 tsp. ground cumin
- Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 2 cups finely diced white onion, soaked in ice water, for garnish
- Lime wedges and chopped cilantro,
- for garnish
- Drain the soaked hominy and put it into a Dutch oven or large soup pot. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Let simmer briskly for 1 hour.
- While the hominy is cooking, toast the dried chiles by placing them in a cast-iron skillet over high heat and shaking and turning them until slightly charred and fragrant. Slit the chiles lengthwise with a knife (you may want to wear gloves) and remove and discard the seeds and stems. Place the chiles in a saucepan with 4 cups of water and simmer for 30 minutes. Let cool. Transfer the chiles to a blender and purée to a smooth paste, adding just enough of the cooking water so the purée has the consistency of a milkshake.
- Generously season the pork belly and venison with salt and pepper. When the hominy has cooked for 1 hour, add the meats, onion, garlic, bay leaf, and cumin. Add enough water to cover by 2 inches and return to a simmer. Simmer over low heat, uncovered, for about 3 hours, occasionally skimming fat from the surface and adding more water as needed. Test the meat for doneness; it will be very tender. The hominy will be soft but still chewy.
- Stir in the chile purée and simmer for an additional 10 minutes.
- To serve, ladle the stew into bowls, and allow guests to garnish their bowls with the chopped white onions, cilantro, and lime wedges. Serves 8-10
Bigos: A Venison Stew Recipe from Poland
This melty venison stew recipe originated centuries ago in Polish hunting camps. Legend has it that a giant kettle of cabbage and sauerkraut would be kept simmering over a fire all morning. As hunters returned with their game, meat would join the pot, and this cycle would continue for days, with the stew constantly being refreshed and reheated. Our version calls for venison and wild boar, but as the legend indicates, bigos welcomes any and all game; goose and rabbit would be great additions.
- 1 small head green cabbage, cored, quartered, and finely shredded
- 1 oz. dried mushrooms
- 2 lb. venison roast, cut into 1 1⁄2-inch pieces
- 1⁄2 lb. wild boar (or pork) shoulder, cut into 1 1⁄2-inch pieces
- 1 tsp. olive oil
- 1⁄2 lb. slab bacon, diced large (or sliced bacon, roughly chopped)
- 1 lb. kielbasa, split lengthwise, then cut into 1-inch slices
- 2 large yellow onions, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, smashed
- 1⁄4 cup tomato paste
- 1 tsp. caraway seeds
- 1 tsp. juniper berries, crushed
- 1 Tbsp. paprika
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 cup dry red wine
- 2 lb. sauerkraut, with its liquid
- 1 cup prunes, roughly chopped
- 2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and roughly chopped
- 1⁄4 cup parsley or chives (or a mixture of both), chopped
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- Combine the fresh cabbage and the dried mushrooms in a medium saucepan, and add water to cover. Throw in about a tablespoon of salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes, or until the cabbage is tender. Remove from the heat and reserve.
- While the cabbage simmers, dry the venison and wild boar with paper towels, and salt and pepper generously. In a large Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat, and add the bacon. Cook, stirring, until the bacon is lightly browned but not crispy, about 6 minutes. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon, and transfer to a large bowl. Add the kielbasa, and raise the heat to medium-high. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the kielbasa is lightly browned and has released some of its fat. Use the slotted spoon to transfer the kielbasa to the bowl with the bacon.
- Add the wild boar and venison to the pot in two batches, and cook, stirring occasionally, until well-browned on all sides. (If the pan starts to dry out, add a glug of olive oil.) Transfer the meat to the bowl with the bacon and kielbasa.
- Reduce the heat back to medium. Add the onions to the pot and cook, stirring often, scraping the browned bits from the bottom of the pot, for about 8 minutes, or until soft and translucent. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for another 2 minutes. Add the tomato paste along with the caraway seeds, juniper berries, paprika, and bay leaves. Cook, stirring frequently, until the tomato paste begins to darken and the spices are fragrant, about 4 minutes.
- Add the wine, scraping the bottom of the pot to incorporate any browned bits, and raise the heat to medium-high to bring to a boil. When the liquid has mostly evaporated, add the sauerkraut, the reserved cabbage and its liquid, and all the meats with any juices from the bowl. Salt and pepper generously.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to very low and simmer, covered, for 11⁄2 hours. Add the prunes and the apples to the pot, and stir to incorporate. Add additional stock or wine if necessary. Like chili, the stew should be juicy but not watery. Remove the cover, and cook for an additional 30 minutes.
- To serve, ladle the venison stew into bowls and garnish with the parsley or chives. Serve the stew with plenty of dark country bread and butter. Serves 8