We try to be a full-service craft beer blog around here. Whenever anyone asks a question or has a request, I try to get it help in whatever form I can. Sometimes it’s easier than others.
On Tuesday, I tweeted out a photo of some venison stew I made that evening.
— KC Beer Scouts (@KCBeerScouts) May 14, 2014
Which prompted a request from one Bruce Janssen
So now I’m happy to oblige.
A few notes before we get started. Though I am pro-hunting, I don’t hunt. So all my game comes as gifts from my father-in-law, a master hunter* and Missouri Conservation Agent. He sent a few venison roasts home with my wife on her last visit. He also sent along about an ounce of dehydrated morels he gathered. I don’t know the slightest bit about morels. But I figured they’d add depth of savory goodness to a game stew.
* He just bagged a turkey a month after having hip replacement surgery. Bad ass man. Don’t poach. He’ll find you.
This is more of a documentation of what I concocted than a tried-and-true recipe. That said, it turned out very well. Think of what’s below as more of a guideline than something to follow closely.
Missouri Venison Stew
This recipe takes about 1 hour to prepare and 4 hours to cook in the crock pot. If you use dehydrated morels, you’ll need about 4 additional hours to rehydrate them. (Or so the internet says. But it worked for me.)
- 3 lbs venison roast (I have no idea what cut this was)
- lots of oil, I used a combination of reserved bacon grease and vegetable oil
- 2 large yellow onions, chopped coarsely
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced or shoved thru a garlic press
- 1 lb carrots, peeled and sliced thick
- 1½ lbs red potatoes, quartered
- ¾ cup of corn (about one ear, or frozen is fine)
- ½ cup peas (frozen is fine)
- ½ lb green beans, cut into 1″ pieces
- 1 oz dehydrated morels
- 1 cup of water (rehydrating morels)
- 12 oz Boulevard Sixth Glass
- 1 cup beef broth
- 3 tbsp flour
- 3 bay leaves
- 5 sprigs of thyme
If you are using dehydrated morels, you’ll need to soak them in room temperature water for about 4 hours. About 1 cup of water for 1 oz of morels. (Or so the internet says. This part is new to me.) After they’ve rehydrated, remove the morels form the liquid and pat dry with some paper towels. Cut the morels into pieces. Reserve the liquid.
Try to get as much of the silver skin off the venison as you can. Cut the meat into cubes, about 1½” square. Pat them dry, then season liberally with salt and pepper.
Add enough oil in a large skillet to completely cover the bottom. (I used mainly bacon grease for this step.) Heat over medium-high heat until shimmering. You won’t be able to fit all of the venison in the skillet at once, so work in batches. Place the chunks of meat close together in the skillet, but not touching. Leave them in place for 2 to 3 minutes, or until a nice sear has formed. Adjust the burner as needed to keep the oil hot but not smoking. Turn all the chunks over and repeat for another 2 to 3 minutes. Remove this batch to a plate, add more oil, and repeat until all the venison has been seared.
Turn your crock pot on low.
Add more oil (I switched to vegetable oil at this point) and turn the heat down to medium. Toss in the chopped onions and stir to coat with the oil. Stirring often, sauté the onions while scraping up as much of the crusted-on burned bits from the bottom of the pan. When the onions are soft, about 5 minutes, throw in the garlic. Continue to cook for another minute or so. Sprinkle the flour over the onions and stir to coat. Continue cooking another couple of minutes, until the flour is slightly browned.
Turn the heat to low, crack open the beer and pour it over the onions. Turn the heat back up to medium-high and using a wooden utensil, really scrape up all the browned bit from the bottom of the pan. When the liquid reaches near-boiling, stir in about half the broth with the thyme sprigs and bay leaves. When that is boiling, add in the the remainder of the broth. Adjust the heat and allow to simmer for 5 minutes.
While the onions, beer and broth simmer, put all the meat and any drippings left on the plate into the crock pot. Add in the morels and the liquid used to rehydrate them to the crock pot also.
Turn off the burner under the skillet, and carefully pour the contents of the skillet over the venison and morels in the crock pot. Stir everything together. Layer the carrots and potatoes over the stew. Don’t stir them in yet, or they’ll turn to complete mush by the time the meat is done cooking. Cover the crock pot and cook on high for 4 hours.
Add the corn, green beans, and peas, and stir everything together. Cover again, and continue cooking on high for another 10 minutes.
Your stew is now read to enjoy. Serve with some crusty bread, a crunchy salad, and a fancy chalice of Sixth Glass.