The Dabble

-food with a side of life-

My Opinion About Deer Season and Venison Stew

If you do not eat meat, this post is not for you. Turn away. I’ll see you later, friend.

Today’s post is for my pals that hunt or have access to venison (yes, mammal meat brought about from hunting). When I say venison, I mean deer meat.

My in-laws, most of the males, are hunters. My father-in-law teaches hunter education, has made almost yearly trips to destinations known for hunting and has a collection of guns. My dear husband used to get up early, sit in a stand or a tree, waiting to kill a deer (preferably a big buck) and then put his antlers on a wall. (Not my wall. I’m not that way. Greg knows better-that would be an act of defiance and disrespect, some kind of challenge to me.)

I’ve often teased Greg that if I am ever offered a chance to go, prepare for embarrassment. I will dress in all orange, I told him, and run through the woods screaming “run, deer, run!”

I hate that deer, and other woodland animals, don’t have the ability to defend themselves against a gun-it’s not fair. Oh look, I’m having breakfast on this sunny hill in my home…and now I’m being shot at-I wouldn’t appreciate that, would you?

To level the playing field, I think that deer should have a gun and the knowledge to use it. I know blah blah blah deer overpopulation blah blah. Just don’t invite me. I will purposely make noise. I think it’s had an effect on Greg because, since I’ve made known my zeal for not killing woodland animals, he’s not gone again. Hooray!

But….they are tasty. This venison was given to us by a friend and I don’t waste those opportunities.

Growing up, the fall and holiday season has always had summer sausage on the party tray and I gladly made little sandwiches with cracker and cheese between the deer meat so call me a hypocrite if you like. There’s no other meat that I can think of that has such a traumatic reaction with me.

It might have been the time my family and I came home from seeing a movie and we hit Bambi…that’s what my sisters and I kept crying. Bambi tried to do a number on the car. Next thing we knew, there was sausage. Mmmmm. That seems ok because obviously the deer was trying to die. Maybe it was the time that I walked into my in-law’s shop, without the lights on, and was heading directly towards a skinned deer hanging from the rafters. Greg came in behind me and turned the lights on….I’ve tried so hard to get that image out of my mind.

So for my pals that magically-don’t tell me how-have venison stewing meat, here’s a delicious stew.

Venison Stew
Serves 4 (with noodles, rice, rolls or mashed potatoes on the side)

3 cups of venison, cut into chunks (or chuck roast for beef stew)
3 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 tbsp olive oil
1 ¼ cups dry red wine
4 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 ¼ cups beef broth
1 tbsp tomato paste
3 sprigs fresh thyme
4 medium cipollini onions
1 cup mushrooms (wild, button, or your choice)
1 tbsp butter

With each onion, cut the top off and peel the skins back to the root end. Cut off the skin, leaving the root intact. Set aside.

Heat the oil in a Dutch oven or pot with a lid over medium-high heat. Add the flour to a small bowl with some salt and pepper and then dust the cubed venison in the flour. Add the meat to the hot oil, in batches, browning both sides.

Deglaze the pot with the wine, stirring the bits from the bottom, and then add the garlic, broth, paste, thyme sprigs and onions, stirring with each addition. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for an hour over low-medium heat. Add the mushrooms and taste for salt/pepper, adding what is needed, then cook, uncovered, for 30 more minutes. Remove the thyme sprigs before serving. Serve with buttered noodles, rice, rolls or mashed potatoes.

6 thoughts on “My Opinion About Deer Season and Venison Stew

  1. I have such a hard time thinking about eating venison. We have a ton of deer in my parents neighborhood and they are just so beautiful! In fact, I don’t think I’ve given much game meat a try. I know that I need to expand my culinary horizons…but they are just so cute! Thanks for sharing your story and recipe, love!

    1. Watching deer-no matter how unexciting it sounds-is something I like to do. They are beautiful creatures and sometimes the young ones allow you to get very close. There’s a video of a deer playing with someone’s dog which is just adorable.

  2. As much as I’d like to agree with you on deer sympathy, I just keep looking at the photo of the stew and getting distracted! The stew, in my opinion, totally outweighs the emotions involved.

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