Don’t be a Scrooge; warm your icy heart and soul with comforting venison mushroom stew, even if global warming has you sweating this winter.
Happy stew season everybody! Yes, I know it’s the holidays and I should be posting cornbread stuffing recipes or something. Because the internet doesn’t have enough of those already. Although I did have a great idea to make it bread pudding but savory, but I digress. Maybe next year. This year, let’s focus on the “in between” meals.
I love stew. It’s pretty dang easy to make pretty dang delicious and makes a good pile of leftovers. I wanted to do a stew-like rendition of beef and mushroom, both of which also go really well with barley. I used a lot of meaty mushrooms, made a lovely stew and then simply served it over steamed barley. If you’re not a barley person, feel free to choose your own preferred starch.
It’s important to note that this is not a quick cooking stew. It’s venison stew meat – it’s gonna be tough. You want to stew it for at least an hour. Alternatively, you could transfer it to a crockpot to set it and forget it while you’re at work, running errands, Christmas shopping, watching Netflix, avoiding responsibilities, drinking, dangling small unruly children by the Achilles, all of the above or whatever it is you otherwise do. It is, after all, the holidays and we are BUSY. (Please note I do not condone both drinking and Christmas shopping if you’re physically going to a store by driving. Bahahahahaha who does that anymore? We know you booze it up and Amazon.)
- 2 pounds venison stew meat
- 1 tbsp bacon fat, butter, or other flavorful fat
- 1/4 cup cognac
- 1 large onion diced
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 12-16 oz wild, button or baby bella mushrooms large ones quartered, small ones halved
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 2 cups mushroom or beef broth
- 2 tbsp fresh thyme
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tbsp butter
- 2 cups boiled barley
Heat a large dutch oven over medium heat. Add the bacon fat or butter Sear about half the meat in 2-3 batches, being careful not to let the bottom burn. Remove seared meat to a plate for later. Deglaze the pan with the cognac and let bubble off a little bit.
Add the onions, give them a sprinkle of salt, cover and cook until translucent, about 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic and thyme and cook another minute or two. Add the mushrooms, stir to combine and cook until just starting to wilt, about 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Add all the meat (both seared and unseared) and stir to combine. Pour in the broth and balsamic vinegar, bring to a boil, then simmer until the meat is very tender, at least 1 hour. Stir in the butter right before serving over steamed barley.