Italian Venison Stew with Polenta is a typical recipe from the Fruili region in Northern Italy. The venison first marinates in a wine-based marinade. Then, the next day, the meat gently roasts with porcini mushrooms and a small amount of bacon fat to keep the deer meat moist. May substitute beef for the deer meat.
Italian Venison Stew First Prepare the Meat
Where has summer gone? Here it’s August and we’re making cooler weather food like a deer stew. I’m not through with warm weather. Did your neck of the woods get a lot of rain? We did at the beginning of the summer and now — nothing. Unfortunately, this year our tomatoes are a huge disappointment. How are yours?
Now, the directions for venison stew. It’s important to trim away all of the deer fat and the “silverskin” which is a thin membrane. Peeling it off will improve the flavor of the meat and make it more tender.
The next step in making the Italian venison stew is to make a marinade. The marinade helps to add flavor plus tenderize the meat. The best way to marinate the venison is in a large Ziplock bag or glass dish and place in the refrigerator overnight.
There are several popular marinades for venison. We wanted to use a traditional Italian red wine marinade. Capriolo alla Montanara con Polenta is a recipe popular in the Fruili region of Italy.
Many cuisines use wine as a tenderizer, especially with wild game. Julia Child’s recipes are rich in the use of wine.
Italian Venison Stew — slow cooking by braising
Slow cooking is the ideal method for preparing venison stew. Braising, searing the meat before simmering, gives the meat ample time to tenderize. The red wine not only gives a delicious flavor to the meat, but it also continues to tenderize the meat.
When you’re ready to make the deer stew, drain the meat and save the red wine marinade. In a heavy-bottomed pan, like a Dutch oven, heat some olive oil with a little bacon on medium-high and brown the stew meat on all sides. You may have to do this in batches.
After browning the meat, remove it from the pan. We add butter to the pan and add the onions, carrots, and fennel. Instead of potatoes, we decided sliced fennel was a nice touch. The light anise taste is delicious!
We let the vegetables cook for a bit. Next we put in the reconstituted dried porcini mushrooms and garlic. When the vegetables start to brown we deglaze the pan by adding the red wine, the porcini liquid, and the broth.
Italian Venison Stew — Cover and Simmer
The liquid bubbles up and then calms down. We stir to make sure all the yummy bits are scraped up from the bottom. Now we season the liquid with salt, pepper, red pepper flakes,and the Italian seaoning.
The meat goes back into to pot and we turn up the temperature. We stir to make sure the liquid touches all the chunks of meat. Once the liquid reaches a boil, we reduce the heat to low and cover the pot, stirring occasionaly
It needs to cook for at least two hours, it could take even more. The longer and slower the stew cooks, the more tender and tasty the Italian venison stew will be. Thicken the stew with a cold broth/flour slurry.
Taste the meat to see if you need any more salt or pepper.
We served our venison stew over polenta a typical way around my region. Let us know if you have any questions about venison and how to prepare it.
Tutti a tavola è pronto
Un caro saluto e alla prossima.
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