Italian venison stew alla Montanara is a hearty stew made with red wine and porcini mushrooms and flavored with bacon.
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5 from 1 vote

Italian Venison Stew with Polenta – Capriolo alla Montanara con Polenta

Italian Venison Stew with Polenta is a typical recipe from Friuli, a Northern region in Italy. The venison first marinates in a red wine marinade, then it simmers with porcini mushrooms and bacon.
Prep Time1 d 31 mins
Cook Time3 hrs 20 mins
Total Time1 d 3 hrs 51 mins
Course: main dish, Stew
Cuisine: American, French, Italian
Keyword: deer, fall dish, stew, venison stew, wild game stew
Servings: 10 servings
Calories: 320kcal
Author: Marisa Franca @ All Our Way


  • 3 pound venison roast trimmed of all fat and the silverskin in the meat. Cut into 1 1/2 inch chunks.
  • 2 cups full-bodied red wine -- like a Cabernet
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 teaspoons pepper
  • 3 oz. pork bacon or pork jowl diced
  • 2 onions cut in thick half-moon slices
  • 2 carrots scrubbed and cut in 1 1/2" chunks
  • 1 Large Fennel bulb cut in thick half-moon slices
  • 4 Tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup dried porcini mushrooms 14grams reconstituted in 1 cup warm beef broth.
  • 1 cup low-sodium beef broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 Tablespoons dried Italian seasoning
  • 2 Tablespoons Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Flat-leaf Parsley


  • Trim and cut the venison roast into the 1 1/2 in chunks. Put the meat in a gallon zip-lock bag. In a large measuring cup make the marinade by mixing the 2 cups red wine, minced garlic, and pepper together. Pour over the meat and seal the bag. Put the bag in a bowl, in case it leaks, and refrigerate at least 24 hours.
  • Drain the meat and keep the marinade. In a heavy cast iron pot, heat 2 Tablespoons of olive oil and bacon drippings over high heat. Add the venison and sear on all sides until the chunks start to brown. You may have to do this in batches. Don't overcrowd the meat or it won't brown. Remove the meat and set aside.
  • Add the 2 Tablespoons butter to the pot and reduce the heat. Add onions, carrots, fennel, red pepper flakes, salt, pepper to the butter. Mix together and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and porcini mushrooms, cook 1 minute more.
  • Deglaze the pan by adding the rest of the red wine, broth, porcini broth. Stir the bottom of the pot to make sure you get all of the yummy bits stuck to the bottom. Add the Italian seasoning.
  • Return the meat to the pot and turn up the temperature until the liquid reaches a boil. Stir. Reduce the heat to low and cover the pot. Stir periodically.
  • Cook for at least 2 hours and even longer. Longer cooking and lower temperatures will guarantee a tender and flavorful venison stew.
  • When finished sprinkle with chopped flat-leaf parsley and serve over polenta.


You can also use beef instead of venison. Use 2 1/2 pounds chuck beef cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes.


Calories: 320kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 33g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 127mg | Sodium: 194mg | Potassium: 721mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 43.7% | Vitamin C: 7.8% | Calcium: 5.3% | Iron: 30%