I am a huntress. I grew up in a family of hunters, and got my hunting license at the early age of 12. Between 12 and 27 I can’t say I did a lot of hunting, but as I became more interested in holistic health I wanted to gain a deeper understanding for the food I was consuming to fuel my body. If I was going to eat meat, I wanted to ensure it was the healthiest and best quality, like the meat in my venison stew recipe.
One thing I quickly learned about hunting is that it is hard. It’s partly a game of skill and knowledge, but even more so a game of luck. More often than not you’ll see plenty of evidence of animals, but no actual game themselves. It’s not like you just walk into the forest and get to pick your deer out of a lineup and then go home. Nope! There’s a lot of sitting quietly in the freezing cold, just hoping something walks by, and more often than not, you return home completely empty handed.
This year, however, I had luck on my side, and I got to fill my tag and take home a deer. But from the moment that deer became mine, it was a lot of work. There’s the cleaning, the skinning, the hanging, the butchering, the packaging – all of these different steps in turning an animal into food that we don’t often see when we’re simply buying meat at the store.
Several people have asked me about this whole experience, and I have to say, that I’m incredibly grateful because for the first time I have seen exactly where my meat has come from as I was a part of every single step along the way. Additionally, now that I know how much work goes into the whole process, I have a HUGE appreciation for good quality meat. I have seen the sweat equity that goes into meat processing, which really makes me question the ethics and quality behind a $10 3-pound tube of ground beef at the grocery store.
So now with a freezer full of beautiful venison, I get to spend my winter coming up with delicious nourishing ways to eat it. Since I had a bunch of bone broth in my freezer, and we were several days into a cold snap, I felt it was the perfect time to make a healthy and delicious venison stew.
Making stew can be as easy or as complicated as you want it to be. You may wish to go the easy route and simply throw everything into the pot or slow cooker, or you can be more deliberate and take steps to deepen the flavours by browning the meat, and cooking some of the vegetables separately. I opted for the extra steps in making this venison stew because it was my first time cooking with my deer, and I wanted it to turn out really, really well.
And I promise you, it was worth the extra steps! Even with the extra effort this recipe is incredibly simple to make.
If you don’t have access to any venison, then you can easily swap it out for beef. I just encourage you to try and get the highest quality beef as possible. Be sure to look for words like grass-fed, free-range, organic, and antibiotic/hormone-free on any labels at the grocery store. Or better yet, if you’re buying your meat at the farmer’s market you could even clarify the quality with the farmer directly.
The venison, combined with the nourishing broth, and paired with root veggies such as carrots, yams and parsnips, makes this meal a grounding, warming dish that you could eat all winter long. Make a huge batch of this stew to eat throughout the week, or freeze it for easy, fast, healthy meals when things get crazy busy!
I would love to hear how you liked this recipe, and any feedback you may have if you give it a go! Feel free to leave a comment below, or you can reach me anytime in the community!