This venison bourguignon is richly flavoured with red wine, bacon, garlic and juniper berries and is cooked with carrots mushrooms and shallots.
The venison meat is incredibly tender and makes the most amazing sauce so all you will need some are some crispy potatoes to soak up all the flavour.
Perfect for entertaining, as you can make this in advance and just reheat it too.
Venison, or deer meat, is one of my favourite meats. It has an amazing slightly floral flavour because the meat is flavoured from the berries and leaves that the deer eat.
If you haven't tried it before, the meat is the same colour as beef, but with a much finer texture. It has a richer taste than beef that is quite strong and gamey.
If you want to tame the flavour in this dish you can soak the venison overnight in the red wine before you cook. This helps to tenderise it and gives another flavour dimension.
My family loves beef bouguignon, so I've tweeked my tried and trusted recipe to use venison and I guarantee that you will want to make this again.
It's a brilliant entertaining dish, that you can heat up just before serving, so you can spend more time with your guests. In actual fact, like most slow cooked stews, it tastes even better the day after cooking, as the flavours have even more time to develop.
Venison is naturally free range and sustainable as most meat live wild in the countryside.
As they feed naturally, from grassesand plants, the meat is extremely lean with very little fat, with 1.6 grams of fat in 100 grams compared to beef, which has 4.3 grams.
❤️ Why you will love this dish
- Make ahead and reheat.
- Elegant entertaining idea.
- Can be made in the slow cooker or oven.
- Just needs some crispy potatoes or mash to serve.
- All the flavours of a beef bouguignon.
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- Venison - venison stewing meat. This is now widely vailable in supermarkets, but you can also buy fresh or frozen online, depending on the season.
- Bacon - smoked bacon lardons. These are thicker slices of streaky bacon cut into chunky pieces, which do have some fat. When this renders down it adds a great deal of flavour.
- Carrots - any carrots
- Mushrooms - white or chestnut button mushrooms are best for presentation or just use larger mushrooms and quarter them.
- Onion - brown or white onion, which forms the base of the sauce.
- Shallots - small round shallots. They can be difficult to peel. The best way is to soak them in water for 10 minutes, then the skin is easier to slip off.
- Wine - a red wine that you would normally drink. Traditionally, beef bourguignon is made with a Burgundy wine, which is light and fruity. If you don't wan't to use wine, simpley use the same amount of stock.
- Stock - beef stock. If you are making this from a cube or concentrate, don't add any salt without tasting first.
- Flour - plain or all purpose flour to thicken the venison stew.
- Thyme - dried thyme or you could use a bouquet garni. This is a selection of herbs, tied together and left in a stew to flavour it. It is removed after cooking. It's easy to make your own with thyme, bay leaves and parsley or other herbs.
- Bay leaves - dried bay leaves. Fresh leaves will overpower the dish.
- Oil - vegetable or olive oil for searing the meat.
- Juniper - juniper berries are available in most supermarkets. They are a key flavour in gin, but are very popular in France in stews for their aromatic flavours. Be careful not to chew one though, as they are very strongly flavoured.
- Garlic - garlic cloves are essential, rather than granules or powder.
- Seasoning - salt and freshly ground black pepper.
The printable recipe card with full ingredient quantities and instructions can be found at the bottom of the article.
- large deep 3 litre casserole dish with lid - approx 3 quarts or 5 pints
- wooden spoon
- sharp knife
- slotted spoon
- chopping board
- frying pan or skillet
Cut the venison into bite sized pieces about 2 centimetres or an inch. It will shrink up a bit when cooking.
💭 Top tip
- If you want to marinate the venison, place it in a bowl with the red wine, juniper berries and a few peppercorns.
- Drain before cooking, resrving the liquid for the venison stew.
Peel the garlic, onions, carrots and shallots.
Dice the carrots. Finely chop the garlic and onion.
Put the oil in the casserole dish or use a frying pan over a medium to high heat.
Brown the venison on all sides.
You may need to do this in batches.
Transfer the venison to a plate with a slotted spoon.
Add the chopped onions and lardons and cook over a medium heat for about 5 minutes, until the onions are soft.
Transfer to the casserole dish.
Add the mushrooms and shallots and cook for few minutes until golden.
Transfer the mushrooms and shallots and cook the carrots for a minute.
Return the venison to the frying pan over a medium heat and sprinkle over the flour.
Stir for a minute, then add the red wine. Stir the bottom of the pan to release any crusty bits .
Add the stock, along with the juniper, thyme and bay leaves and bring to a simmer, stirring.
💭 Top Tip
- Use the back of a knife to gently flatten the juniper berries before adding. This will make sure that they release their flavour.
Transfer the venison to the vegetables and stir to combine.
⏲️ Baking Time
Put the lid on and place in a preheated oven at 180 C / 350 F / 160 FAN / Gas 4.
After an hour, stir the stew and see if any more liquid needs to be added.
Cook for a further 30 minutes to an hour, or until the venison bourguignon is tender.
💭 Top Tip
- If you want to cook this in the slow cooker, cook on high for 4 - 6 hours on high, or 7 - 10 hours on low,
Check the seasoning and serve with a scattering of fresh parsley.
Don't forget to remove the bay leaves and any obvious juniper berries.
🥗 Side Dishes
There are plenty of vegetables in the venison bourguignon, so I just like to serve it with potatoes. Try some of these ideas.
- Easy Roast Potatoes
- Confit Potatoes
- Crispy Potatoes Pavé
- Potatoes Dauphinoise
- Chateau Potatoes
- Crispy Smashed Potatoes
- Boursin Mashed Potatoes
- Fondant Potatoes
- Potatoes Aligot
- Potatoes Rissole
- Potatoes Boulangere
- Boursin Mashed Potatoes
- Sarladaise Potatoes
- Potatoes Parisienne
- Parmentier Potatoes
- Duchess Potatoes
- Lardons - use streaky bacon cut into small pieces or back bacon.
- Shallots - cut 2 onions into wedges instead.
- Vegetables - add some chopped celery with the carrots or try swede, (rutabaga), turnips, parsnips or potatoes.
- Beef - add the same amount of beef stewing steak to make a beef bourguignon.
- Refrigerator - cool, cover and keep in the refirgerator for up to 3 days.
- Freezer - pack in airtight containers and freeze for up to 3 months. Defrost in the refrigerator.
- To reheat - reheat the venison bourguignon in the oven or over a low to medium heat on the hob.
🍱 Prepare in Advance
- Make the stew the day before serving. Cool and store in the fridge.
More venison and game dishes
- Roast Venison Haunch
- Pheasant and Venison Casserole
- Venison Burgers
- Venison Sausage Plait
- Game Terrine
- Roast Partridge
- Pigeon Breast with Blackberry Sauce
- large deep 3 litre casserole dish with lid approx 3 quarts or 5 pints
- wooden spoon
- sharp knife
- slotted spoon
- chopping board
- Frying pan or skillet
- 600 g venison stewing
- 250 g bacon smoked lardons
- 400 g carrots 4 medium
- 300 g mushrooms button
- 1 onion
- 400 g shallots
- 200 ml red wine
- 400 ml beef stock
- 3 tablespoon flour plain / all purpose
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tablespoon oil
- 8 juniper berries
- 2 cloves garlic
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- Cut the venison into bite sized pieces about 2 centimetres or an inch.
- Peel the garlic, onions, carrots and shallots.
- Dice the carrots. Finely chop the garlic and onion.
- Put the oil in the frying pan over a medium to high heat.
- Brown the venison on all sides, in batches if necessary.
- Transfer the venison to a plate with a slotted spoon.
- Add the chopped onions and lardons and cook over a medium heat for about 5 minutes, until the onions are soft. Transfer to the casserole dish.
- Add the mushrooms and shallots and cook for few minutes until golden. Transfer the mushrooms and shallots and cook the carrots for a minute.
- Return the venison to the frying pan over a medium heat and sprinkle over the flour.
- Stir for a minute, then add the red wine. Stir the bottom of the pan to release any crusty bits .
- Add the stock, along with the juniper, thyme and bay leaves and bring to a simmer, stirring.
- Transfer the venison to the vegetables and stir to combine.
- Put the lid on and place in a preheated oven at 180 C / 350 F / 160 FAN / Gas 4. Alternatively, place in a slow cooker for 4 – 6 hours on high or 7 – 10 hours on low.
- After an hour, stir the stew and see if any more liquid needs to be added.
- Cook for a further 30 minutes to an hour, or until the venison bourguignon is tender.
- Check the seasoning and serve with a scattering of fresh parsley.
Disclaimer: The nutritional information provided is approximate and is calculated using online tools. Information can vary depending on various factors, but we have endeavoured to be as accurate as possible.
Detailed instructions for this recipe, including step by step photographs, hints and tips, can be found in the main article.
Duck and Game Birds
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food, that previously touched raw meat.
- Wash hands after touching raw meat.
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods.
- Never leave cooking food unattended.
- Use oils with high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds.
- Always have good ventilation when using gas.
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