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My Best Venison Stew Ever

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HistoricFoodie View Drop Down
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    Posted: 07 November 2017 at 12:25
I sent this to Ron, who felt it was worthy of posting. So here's what I sent him:

Made it last night. In addition to venison stew meat, in pieces about 1 ½”, I included onions, celery, garlic as aromatics, parsnips and carrots as the roots, and some mushrooms just because. Because we were serving this on left-over mashed potato pancakes, I didn’t add any potatoes to the stew.

Contributing greatly was the seasoning I threw together. This consisted of kosher salt, peppercorns, rosemary, coriander, and just a few juniper berries, all powdered together in a mortar. I believe that, along with cooking it in clay (I used the guvec) is why it came out so good.

Here’s the procedure, along with approximate amounts.

a mortar combine about two tablespoons kosher salt with a tablespoon or so of rosemary and coriander, half tablespoon of peppercorns, and 5-6 juniper berries. I merely eyeballed things, so these measurements are very subject to adjustment. Grind spices to powder.

sprinkle about 2 pounds of venison chunks with the spice mixture. Working in batches, brown the meat in bacon fat, transferring it to a large bowl. Meanwhile, cut a large onion into thick slices; smash 3 garlic cloves, and shred one small carrot. Sauté the veggies in the same skillet, adding more bacon fat if needed. Add cooked veggies to the browned meat, and toss to distribute. Transfer mixture to pre-heated clay pot.

Add two cups spiced tomato juice and one cup stock, heated in microwave, to the stew. Slowly bring to boil, reduce to simmer, cover, and cook one hour.

While the meat is simmering, prepare the other veggies. Peel four parsnips and two carrots. Cut the thin parsnip tips into chip-like slices. Cut the balance of the parsnips and the carrots into chunks about the same size as the meat. Add this to the pot and cook until parsnips are barely tender, about another 45 minutes. Add a couple of handfuls of halved mushrooms, and cook until parsnips are fully tender, about 15 minutes more.

Ideally, at this point you can let the stew just sit, so all the flavors meld beautifully. I actually made it yesterday morning, left it on the stove, then reheated it gently for dinner.
Just before serving I deep-fried the parsnip chips until crisp and brown. Each serving was topped with a sprinkling of chips to add a crunch factor.

Obviously you can ring all sorts of changes on this. Potatoes, certainly. Pumpkin or other winter squash, a distinct possibility. Turnips would be a natural. Etc. One could, I suppose, even add some thinly sliced cabbage.

Occurs to me, in fact, that if you cut the veggies smaller, added cabbage, a handful of raisins, more liquid, and, perhaps, a bit of vinegar or lemon juice, you’d have one hell of a main-dish soup.

Other than the seasoning mix, there’s nothing really unusual about how I made it. I’m convinced, though, that the clay cooking makes a difference. Part of which is something I noticed for the first time---the incredible heat retention of the clay. Just sitting on the stove, the guvec stayed warm to the touch most of the day. Far longer than even cast iron. And, of course, it’s an even heat, which certainly helps with the cookery.


But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thanket
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 November 2017 at 12:46
Outstanding, Brook - thank you for posting!

This is most definitely on my list to try; I've got a couple of options for the earthenware cookware to use, and I'll see what will work best for this. For those of you not familiar with the Güveç cooking vessel, here is some information:

https://www.tulumba.com/products/3741-earthenware-pot-non-coated-small/Default.asp

A question about the parsnips: Should we be concerned with the tough core, or just chop it up and let the cooking process take care of it?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 November 2017 at 16:23
I was concerned about the cores myself, Ron. However, I split the thicker pieces, and everything got tender, even those pesky cores.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 November 2017 at 12:50
Sounds like a plan ~
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 November 2017 at 03:01
One thing I wasn't clear about.  The seasoning mix, as written, makes far more than was needed for the stew.  I probably used only about a tablespoon, total.  So take that fwiw. 
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