Deer populate our Methow Valley year round, with whitetail and mule deer as common as robins. Houdini deer scale our garden fences and shed roofs in summer, then in autumn provide a staple meat for many families, and we’re fortunate to have ample venison from family and friends’ successful hunts.
In this recipe, the sweetness in the root veggies, butter and spices used to sear the venison and the zing of fresh chèvre feta all combine well to warm heart and belly in winter. Potent, large chunks of onion infuse the entire stew and sweeten nicely while baking. Topped with feta cheese from our friends at Sunnypine Farms, browning to perfection atop the veggies and meat, this is a delectable one pot winter meal.
~Deer hunting practice with brother~
From the garden vegetables from the cellar, to the wild game brought to us by baby’s god-father, to the cheese topping made just down the street, this entire recipe is satisfyingly sustainable, local and garden to table.
There is a large portion of butter in this recipe, but it is absolutely needed for richness of flavor, as venison has almost no fat content. When making the meat into burger or sausage for instance, a large amount of pork fat is added. This recipe does not work well with oil substitutes, but not to be concerned, for even with the butter, the total fat content is minimal given the leanness of the meat.
Garden onions for this recipe are required in large quantity. A cast iron dutch oven is the best way to cook this stew for consistent heating and melding of flavors. However, a standard covered casserole dish will also work well.
Venison Stew with Root Vegetables Recipe
1 – 2 lb. Venison (roast meat works just fine)
1/3 c butter
1-2 T dried hot chili flakes (such as cayenne)
1 large sweet potato
1 large yam
2-3 large onions
ample salt and pepper to taste
½ c brown sugar
¾ c crumbled feta (I use Sunnypine Farms chèvre feta)
~Begin by trimming the venison roast of any tendons and excess fat; chop into large chunks, about 1-2 inches square.
~In a large fry pan, melt butter on medium high and add dried pepper; when chilies flakes are sizzling, add venison to the pan and seer on medium high on all sides, stirring frequently, until meat is browned; note: do not cook through—venison cooks quickly and is easily over done.
~Remove from heat and combine with brown sugar, salt and pepper; place meat in a covered casserole or Dutch oven.
~Chop onions in quarters and root vegetables in 2 inch chunks; cover meat with vegetables, but do not mix; top with feta and cover.
~Cook covered at 250 for about 1 hour, or until root veggies are soft when stuck with a fork; for last 10 minutes of baking, remove cover from dutch oven for browning of onions and cheese.
Yield: 6-8 servings
Love from our kitchen to yours! ~Georgina @ Soul & Stomach