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!
- 4 lbs venison or beef roast, cubed
- 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and chopped
- 1 cup crimini mushrooms, washed and cut into quarters
- 3 large cloves of garlic, crushed and diced
- 4 large carrots, peeled and cut into fingers
- 2 large parsnips, peeled and cut into fingers
- 1 small yam, peeled and cut into cubes
- 3 large stalks of celery, washed and chopped
- 3 large tomatoes, beefsteak, diced
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 4-6 tablespoons coconut or avocado oil
- 2 cups of bone broth (optional - can substitute water)
- 2 cups of water
- 2 tablespoons raw apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons dried thyme
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- salt and pepper to taste
Pre-heat the oven to 325F. Measure and cut a piece of parchment paper that will over your dutch oven or pot, and fit nicely in place with the lid on top.
In a dutch oven or large pot with lid, heat 2 Tbsp of oil over medium-high heat. While the pot and oil is heating up, cut up the roast into 1”x1” cubes. Season with a generous amount of salt and pepper. Add the meat to the pot to brown, turning each piece after 1-2 minutes to ensure equal browning on all sides. For easier browning you may want to add the meat in stages, so as not to overcrowd the bottom of the pan. Remove the meat and set aside.
Next add another 1-2 Tbsp of oil to the pan. Add the onions, and stir to cook for 2 minutes or until they begin to turn translucent. Add the quartered mushrooms, and the garlic, and another dash of salt and pepper to taste. Cook for 2 minutes or until the mushrooms begin to soften. Remove the onions, mushrooms and garlic and set aside.
Add another 1-2 Tbsp of oil to the pot, followed by the carrots, yams, celery and parsnips. Season with salt and pepper, and cook for 4 minutes, or until the carrots and yams become fork-tender. By this point there may be a nice build-up of fond on the bottom of the pot. Add a splash, or roughly 2 Tbsp of the bone broth, and as it begins to steam and loosen the fond from the bottom of the pan, give it a bit of help with your wooden spoon or spatula and scrape it free.
Add the diced tomatoes to the pot with a pinch of salt to help release the juice from the tomatoes. Add back the onions, mushrooms, and garlic, and stir to combine. Next stir in the remaining bone broth, water, apple cider vinegar, and tomato paste. Bring to a nice low simmer, give a good little stir, and make sure everything has been incorporated nicely.
Add in the thyme, oregano and basil, then remove from the stove. Cover the pot or dutch oven with your piece of parchment paper, and secure it in place with the lid. Put the pot covered pot into the oven, and allow it to cook for 2 - 2.5 hours. You may wish to check on it every hour to give it a stir and taste for flavours.
Enjoy on a chilly winter day, or freeze in an air-tight container for up to 6 months! This stew is awesome to make ahead in a big batch and eat throughout the week, as it almost tastes better the next day!