A Classic French Venison Stew Recipe

A Classic French Venison Stew in bowls and a pot

The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 80 mins
Marinade: 8 hrs
Total: 9 hrs 40 mins
Servings: 4 to 6 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
357 Calories
7g Fat
12g Carbs
51g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 357
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 7g 9%
Saturated Fat 3g 16%
Cholesterol 129mg 43%
Sodium 383mg 17%
Total Carbohydrate 12g 4%
Dietary Fiber 2g 9%
Total Sugars 4g
Protein 51g
Vitamin C 5mg 26%
Calcium 42mg 3%
Iron 8mg 43%
Potassium 1048mg 22%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

When the weather turns, and winter starts to bring colder temperatures, it is time to think about hearty, comforting meals. A classic French venison stew recipe, which also happens to be quick to make, fits the bill perfectly. Not only is this dish easy to make, but venison is low in fat.

Venison works much better in recipes where it is marinated and cooked slowly which helps it develop flavors and prevents it from drying out. Red wine is the classic choice, as it imparts tastes that work so well with this meat. Here, the venison is marinated overnight in an herb and vegetable stock, along with the red wine. This helps add a ton of flavor and creates a melt-in-your-mouth texture while it simmers on the stovetop, and then slowly braises in the oven, filling your home with a delicious aroma.

Wild venison is (when available) strong in flavor, so if you are not a game fan, then look for farmed venison from an ethical source if you can. This stew is particularly good when served with a fresh green salad on the side, along with some crusty bread or mashed potatoes.

"The venison stew was flavorful and made a tasty meal with crusty French bread. I fished the meat out of the marinade then drained the liquid into a bowl before sautéing the vegetables. My bacon didn't produce a lot of fat so I had to add 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil when browning the venison." —Diana Rattray

venison stew with vegetables/tester image
A Note From Our Recipe Tester

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds venison, cubed

  • 1 cup coarsely chopped yellow or white onions

  • 3 medium carrots, cut into 1/4-inch slices

  • 1/4 cup finely chopped celery

  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 2 teaspoons dried parsley

  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

  • 1/4 teaspoon dried crushed rosemary

  • 1 cup dry red wine

  • 3/4 cup beef stock

  • 5 slices bacon, coarsely chopped

  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

  • Vegetable oil, if needed, optional

  • 1 teaspoon tomato paste

  • 1 1/2 cups sliced mushrooms

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Classic French Venison Stew ingredients in bowls

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  2. Put the venison on one side of a large baking dish. Put the onions, carrots, and celery on the opposite side. Sprinkle the salt, pepper, and the dried herbs evenly over the meat and vegetables.

    Venison, onions, carrots, and celery with seasoning in a baking dish

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  3. Combine the beef stock and red wine. Pour the mixture over the meat and vegetables. Cover, and marinate in the refrigerator for 8 hours, or up to overnight.

    Beef stock and red wine added to the meat and vegetables in the baking dish

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  4. Remove the meat and vegetables from the marinade to separate bowls. Reserve the marinade for use later in this recipe.

    Vegetables and marinade in separate bowls

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  5. In a large Dutch oven or other heavy-duty pot, add the bacon and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until it crisps.

    Bacon in a Dutch oven

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  6. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate to drain.

    Cooked bacon on a paper towel lined plate

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  7. Pat the venison dry with paper towels. Toss the meat chunks with the flour. Brown the meat in the bacon grease over medium-high heat in batches if necessary, until golden. Replenish the pan with vegetable oil if needed.

    Venison chunks with flour in a Dutch oven

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  8. Return all the meat to the pot. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring continually until the meat and paste are combined, about 1 minute.

    Meat chunks and tomato paste in a Dutch oven

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  9. Add the mushrooms, marinated vegetables, crisped bacon, and the reserved marinade to the pot.

    Meat, vegetables and marinade in a Dutch oven

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  10. Cook the mixture, covered, on low heat until the meat and vegetables are tender, and the sauce has thickened, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Serve warm.

    Classic French Venison Stew in a bowl with a spoon

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

Tips

For a thicker stew, make a slurry just before the stew is ready. Combine 1 tablespoon of flour or cornstarch with 1 to 2 tablespoons of cold water and whisk until smooth. Add the mixture to the simmering stew, stirring constantly. Continue to cook until thickened.

Recipe Variations

  • Replace the dried parsley with 2 tablespoons of finely chopped fresh parsley.
  • For garlic flavor, add 2 teaspoons of minced garlic to the marinade.


How to Store

  • Refrigerate leftover venison stew within 2 hours in a covered container for up to 4 days.
  • To freeze, transfer leftover stew to an airtight freezer container, leaving about 1/2 inch of headspace to allow for expansion. Label with the name and date and freeze for up to 3 months.

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