The Easiest and Best Venison Stew for Beginners Cooking with Deer Meat, From Scratch Recipe for Stovetop
Venison Stew was one of the first deer meat recipes I made, and is an easy, comforting meal the entire family loves. The ingredients are simple, and with this adaptation of my husband’s grandmother’s recipe, the venison stays moist and juicy.
I had never eaten wild game until I met my husband Nate. When he said he was going hunting during that first autumn together, I had no idea what to expect.
At the time, I had been professional ballerina and honestly did not cook much, and what I did cook was mostly vegetarian. Needless to say, Nate and I both learned a lot from each other and our different backgrounds.
Obviously, he won me over with fresh wild game because now I love it!
After we got married, and his mom shared with me a recipe book full of family recipes including a handful of venison recipes, including this venison stew.
Tips for Cooking with Deer Meat for Venison Stew
Remove the Sinew
What is sinew? It is the silver elastic-looking part on the venison stew meat. If you cooking the stew meat with the sinew on it, it will come our rubbery and not pleasant.
You may need to cut the venison stew meat into smaller pieces to accomplish this; however, I think it makes each bite-sized piece of meat even more tender and flavorful.
Sear and Braise the Venison to Make it More Tender
As you’ll see per the Venison Stew recipe below, you want to sear your stew meat first, then braise it with the vegetables. Again, allowing the deer meat to get more tender and juicy.
Cook on Low Temperature for a Long Time
If you are short on time you can adjust, but for the most tender, juicy, flavorful, amazing venison stew, you’ll want to keep the dutch oven on a lower temperature and let it cook for longer.
Common Questions about Venison Stew
Does This Recipe Work with Other Types of Wild Game Meat?
Personally, I would love to try this recipe with elk. I recently had elk steaks in Tahoe and I immediately thought of how delicious it would be in this recipe.
Can this Recipe Be Made with Other Vegetables?
By all means, this recipe is a great starting point to make it your rendition of venison stew. Sometimes I’ll sneak in kale or even chickpeas to mix things up. This Venison Stew recipe is a good foundation for you to then experiment and find what your family likes best.
Can I Make this in an Instant Pot or Crock Pot?
With some adjustments, you can make Venison Stew in an Instant Pot or Crock Pot. However, I think it tastes better, cooks better, when cooked on the stovetop in a Dutch Oven.
I also love cooking it in a Dutch Oven because I love our Dutch Oven and it’s lovely on the stove, but the stew fills our home with the most delectable aroma making everyone eager for dinner time.
- 2-3 pounds of venison stew meat, cut off sinew
- 1 T of tallow (you can substitute with olive oil)
- 2 cups diced carrots
- 2 cups cut green beans
- 2 cups diced red potatoes
- 1/2 white onion, diced (optional)
- 1 garlic clove, minced (optional)
- 1 cup of corn
- 24 oz tomato sauce
- 4 cups of unsalted beef stock or venison stock
- 1 T of Herbs de Provence
- Begin with rinsed venison stew meat with sinew (the white elastic-looking bits) trimmed off. I like to cut the stew meat into bite-sized pieces.
- Be sure to salt and pepper the stew meat before cooking. I like to really rub it in each piece.
- Add tallow (you can substitute with olive olive, but for me tallow makes the venison more flavorful) to your Dutch Oven on medium-high heat.
- Once tallow is melted and hot, sauté your stew meat for about 5 minutes, or until the edges turn brown. Remove the meat from the Dutch Oven and set aside.
- Turn your temperature down to medium and add your desired vegetables—carrots, green beans, corn, etc.—and let them sauté and soften first if you are using fresh vegetables. (If using drained vegetables from a can you do not need to allow time for them to soften.)
- Sprinkle in Herbs de Provence as you stir the vegetables to soften.
- If vegetables were fresh, once softened, add tomato sauce and beef or venison stock. (I always have extra stock on hand as I do not like replenished the liquid base of the stew with water; stock is so much better.)
- Add stew meat back into the pot and stir so everything is well-mixed. Add salt and pepper to taste. Optional: add a sprig of fresh rosemary to float at the top and remove before serving.
- Once the stew is brought to a boil, let it simmer for two hours.
- Serve hot and is best with fresh sourdough bread.
If I do not have tallow, I like to use Queen City Herbs de Provence Olive Oil to sauté the stew meat.
Sometimes I will use rosemary salt instead of traditional salt to rub into the stew meat if I'm going for even more of an herb-rich flavor.
The onions and garlic are optional, or you could adjust to one full onion and two cloves of garlic. We do not love onions and garlic, so we typically add less than usual. Adjust per your preferences.
If you prefer to make this in a crock pot or slow cooker, after sautéing everything, put in a slow cooker on low for 8 hours.
Nate's grandmother's recipe only used salt & pepper for seasoning, but I like the Herbs de Provence. You could also do an Italian Seasoning or keep it simple with a flavored salt (like rosemary) and pepper.
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Photographs by Leah Payne