Venison Stew (from The New Basics Cookbook by Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins)
2 cups chicken stock
2 cups Madeira
1 cup dry red wine
1 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
8 juniper berries, crushed
1 bay leaf
3 pounds boneless venison shoulder, cut into 1 1/2″ pieces
8 oz bacon cut into 1″ pieces
3 tablespoons flour
1 rutabaga (about 2 1/2 lbs) peeled and cut into 1/2″ cubes
12 small white onions
1/2 stick unsalted butter
2 teaspoons sugar
2 cups pitted dates
1 large fennel bulb, julienned
3 tablespoons coarsely chopped flat leaf parsley
* In a large bowl combine the stock, Madeira, red wine, vinegar, 1/2 cup olive oil, garlic, thyme, 1 teaspoon of pepper, juniper berries and bay leaf. Stir well and add venison. Cover and marinate at room temperature for 2 hours.
* Preheat oven to 350
* Drain venison, reserve marinade. Pat meat dry.
* Place a large flameproof casserole under medium heat, add bacon, and cook until lightly browned and fat is rendered. Using slotted spoon remove bacon and set aside.
* Add venison to casserole in batches and brown quickly over medium-high heat, adding more oil if necessary.
* Return all meat to casserole, sprinkle with flour and stir well. Cook over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes, then add reserved marinade, cook another 2 minutes.
* Add rutabaga to casserole and bake on center rack for 45 minutes.
* While venison is cooking, place onions in pan of cold water. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Drain onions, rinse in cold water, slip off skins but leave root end intact. Cut in half lengthwise
* (I’m thinking, at this point, my neighbor deserves a medal for making this…)
* Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a skillet. Add onions, cook for 2 mins, add 1 teaspoon of sugar and cook 1 more minute until caramelised. Remove onions set aside, also set aside skillet.
* Kill yourself
* Add onions and dates to venison, stir gently. Cover casserole and continue baking until tender. They say another 15 minutes. Our experience the other night says you might wanna try a little bit longer, say…45? Not for the meat, but those rutabagas can be bastards if they’re not soft enough…
* Meanwhile, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter to skillet. Add fennel, cook over medium heat for 3 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining 1 teaspoon sugar, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Cook until caramelized, 2 minutes, and set aside.
* When the venison is cooked, gently fold in the cooked fennel, adjust seasonings, and sprinkle with parsley.