I'm a proud Pennsylvanian, and I'm not afraid to brag about my love of scrapple, or all the wild mushrooms in our woods, or our incredible stock of free range white tailed dear meat. Its that time of year again, hunting season began with its usual bang, and I've been happy to soothe that winter chill with this simple deer stew. This is a classic and simple stew that gets better as it cooks and develops flavor. You can essentially use this recipe with any cut of meat and produce a world class stew.
2-3 pounds Venison, cubed*
1/4 cup pork lard (bacon fat)
4 large yellow onions, chopped
1 pound mushrooms (I used shitakie), quartered
6 cloves garlic, minced
6 large carrots, halved and quartered
1 head celery, chopped
1 bottle red wine, I used Pinot Noir
6 red potatoes, quartered
1 bag frozen peas
1 quart stock, if needed
Salt, pepper, herbes, bay leaf, to taste
In a cast iron skillet, heat the lard until melted and add the venison. Cook until browned and add the onions. When the onions are translucent, add the mushrooms and garlic and cook until they have released their moisture. In a large stock pot over medium flame, add the venison and mushroom mixture. Then add the carrots and celery and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the red wine, potatoes, herbs, and bay leaf, then simmer for an hour or until potatoes are soft, checking frequently. If the stew is too thick, add a bit of stock. Add the bag of peas and simmer until cooked. Serve atop mashed potatoes or with plain yogurt.
*if cooking with wild game deer, be sure to trim the cut. Remove any fat, tendons, bones and 'silver'(the glossy connective membrane encasing much of the meat).