Venison Stew – whether slow cooked or pressure cooked, this flavorful stew is sure to warm every heart and stomach.
It is a tradition in my home to make venison stew for New Year’s Eve celebration. I make it always in the same way, with exception that I made it this year in my electric pressure cooker (Instant Pot) instead of slow cooking on a stove top.
Venison (deer) meat is similar to beef. It is usually cooked for several hours, until it becomes tender, together with vegetables and juniper berries which impart mild, yet special flavor to the stew. Don’t worry if you cannot find juniper berries – substitute them with some rosemary leaves.
Plum jam is added for sweetness and flavor, while smoked paprika gives warmth and fragrance. You can make the stew mild or hot with some chili powder. I like adding about a tablespoon of powdered dry porcini mushrooms to the stew for additional umami.
Venison Stew can be either thin, almost soup-like, or thick like meat sauce. This time I cooked it in IP which didn’t allow liquid to evaporate, so the stew was more on a thin side. When cooked on a stove top, it will be much thicker if no more liquid (beef stock or water) is added during cooking.
Thin stew is served on its own with addition of some boiled potatoes or German Spaetzle dumplings. Thick stew can be served over gnocchi or noodles.
- 1,3 kg 2,7 lb; 46 oz venison, cubed
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 Tbsp lard or butter
- flour for dusting
- salt, black pepper
- 3 onions, chopped
- 4 carrots, sliced
- 1/2 cup cubed celeriac (or 3 stalks celery)
- 3 garlic cloves
- 2 bay leaves
- 12 juniper berries, crushed*
- 1/2 tsp dry thyme
- 1 cup red wine (good drinking wine, not cooking wine)
- 4 cups beef stock
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 Tbsp plum jam
- optional: chili powder, powdered mushrooms
Season venison with salt and pepper. Dust with flour. Fry in mixture of olive oil and lard or butter until brown, about 3 minutes.
Add onions, carrots, celeriak, garlic, bay leaves, juniper berries, thyme and wine. Cook for several minutes, until alcohol evaporates.
Add remaining ingredients and cook for about 1.5-2 hours or until venison is tender.
INSTANT POT: Saute directly in Instant Pot. Cook on Manual setting for 30 minutes.
*If you cannot find juniper berries, use some rosemary leaves instead.