I love a good, hearty stew, and I love the rich, meaty taste of venison, but I had never put the two together until last night. This weekend, I got some delicious venison stew meat from a local deer farm, Redmond’s Red Deer Farm. Because it’s farm raised, their venison has a milder taste than wild venison, but still uniquely flavorful.
Venison plays well with gin and juniper berries, and so does red cabbage – voila! I knew what I would do.
The stew was hearty and satisfying – comforting, but also intriguing with the notes of gin and juniper. Served atop a tangle of buttered whole wheat egg noodles, it was a perfect winter meal.
I was so busy eating it that I didn’t get a picture of the finished dish, so you’ll have to make it yourself to see.
Try it – you’ll like it!
The meat and veggies before adding the broth
Venison & Red Cabbage Stew with Gin and Juniper Berries
1 lb venison stew meat (smallish pieces)
2-3 Tbsp flour
Salt & freshly ground pepper
2 Tbsp Canola or Vegetable Oil
1 Onion, chopped
1 Carrot, chopped
1 Smallish head Red Cabbage, roughly chopped (largeish pieces)
4-6 Mushrooms, quartered
Generous pinch or two of Dried Rosemary
Pinch of Dried Thyme
~10 Dried Juniper berries (more or less depending how strong your berries are)
~ 1/4 Cup Gin (a good, flavorful one that you would enjoy in a Gin & Tonic or a Martini)
A few good glugs of Worcestershire Sauce (~2-3 Tbsp)
1 Bay Leaf
32 oz Beef or Chicken Broth (I used Chicken Broth, because that’s what I had on hand, and it worked well)
1. Toss the meat with the flour, and generous seasoning of salt and pepper. Heat oil in a dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add meat, and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned on all sides
2. Remove the meat and set aside. Add the onions and carrots and cook for a couple minutes, stirring occasionally
3. Add the cabbage and cook the vegetables for about 5 more minutes, until the cabbage starts to wilt, stirring occasionally
4. Add the mushrooms, dried rosemary, and thyme; season with salt & pepper, and cook another 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally
5. Add the meat back into the pot, then add the juniper berries and the gin. Stir until combined, and cook a few minutes until the gin has mostly cooked off
6. Add the Worcestershire Sauce – just glug it into the pot. Yum! Stir. Add the bay leaf
7. Add the broth. It should come up to the top of the veggies and meat; don’t worry if it does not completely cover them. The cabbage will cook down and release its own liquid as the stew cooks. Stir.
8. Cover the pot and bring everything to a boil. Turn the heat down to medium-low.
9. Cook for at least 2 hours. The flavors will meld together and the meat will become nice and tender. If you have time to cook it longer than two hours, do. The more time, the better when you’re making stew!
Enjoy. If you make this for guests, I’m sure they’ll be impressed.