A Classic French Venison Stew Recipe

Venison stew in a white bowl with a spoon

The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  • Total: 80 mins
  • Prep: 20 mins
  • Cook: 60 mins
  • Marinade: 8 hrs
  • Servings: 4 to 6 servings

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.

As venison is so lean, it 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 nd some crusty bread or mashed potatoes.

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds venison (cubed)
  • 1 cup yellow or white onions (chopped)
  • 3 medium carrots (cut into 1/4-inch slices)
  • 1/4 cup celery (finely chopped)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon 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 (chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 cups mushrooms

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for venison stew

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  2. Put the venison, onions, carrots, celery, salt, pepper, and the herbs in a large glass bowl or casserole dish.

    Venison, onions, carrots, celery, and seasonings in a casserole dish

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  3. Pour the red wine and beef stock over the venison, cover, and marinate in the refrigerator for 8 hours, or overnight.

    Red wine and beef stock poured over venison, onions, carrots, and herbs

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  4. Drain the liquid marinade and reserve it for use later in this recipe.

    Marinade in a bowl, drained from the venison stew mixture

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga 

  5. In a large saucepan over high heat, cook the bacon until it turns crisp.

    Bacon cut into small pieces and cooking in a small saucepan

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

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

    Cooked bacon draining on a paper towel

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  7. Pour all but 2 tablespoons of bacon grease from the pan. Sauté the onions, carrots, and celery in the bacon grease for 5 minutes, until the vegetables turn soft. Transfer them to a bowl with a slotted spoon and set it aside for a moment.

    Carrots and onions cooking with bacon grease

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  8. Toss the venison with the flour and brown it in the remaining bacon grease.

    Venison tossed with flour and cooking in remaining bacon grease

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  9. Once all sides of the meat are browned, stir in the tomato paste and cook the mixture for 1 minute.

    Tomato paste stirred in with venison and cooked together in a pot

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  10. Add the mushrooms, cooked vegetables, crisped bacon, and reserved marinade liquid into the pan with the browned venison.

    Cooked veggies and mushrooms added to pot with venison for stew

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  11. Cook the mixture over low heat, covered, for 45 minutes to 1 hour. The venison stew is done when the meat and vegetables are tender and the sauce is thickened.

    Venison stew cooked in a pot

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  12. Serve the casserole with simple, fresh, green vegetables and a spoon or two of lovely mashed potatoes to soak up the juices. 

    Finished dish of venison stew in a white bowl with a spoon

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

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