Learn how to make this warm, hearty venison stew full of tender veggies and fall-apart meat. It’s the perfect one-pot winter warmer, and you’ll love how effortlessly it comes together.
If you are unfamiliar with venison, it refers to meat from any game animal, though it’s most commonly associated with deer meat. Venison can be a tricky protein since it can quickly end up tough and chewy, yet with some simple ingredients and a bit of patience, you can end up with tender, juicy meat that’s full of flavor.
This stew, along with venison chili, has quickly become a family favorite in my house. With mouthwatering venison, tender veggies, and a rich, aromatic broth, it’s the ultimate comfort food that gets better with every bite.
Table of Contents
Why this recipe works
- One pot meal. Everything you’ll need to make this dish comes together in one pot, which I love because not only is prep time minimal but so is cleanup.
- It’s healthy and satisfying. This stew is loaded with lean protein and tons of veggies in a light, aromatic broth, making for a nutritious yet delicious dish.
- Makes great leftovers. As much as I enjoy this stew fresh off the stovetop, it reheats just as well.
- Minimal hands-on time. Once you sear the meat and cook the vegetables until tender, just add the broth ingredients and potatoes and stir occasionally until it’s done.
This rich stew comes together with an assortment of veggies, aromatics, spices, and beef stock to make a delicious dish. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Olive oil. For sautéeing the meat.
- Butter. For cooking the vegetables. I like to use butter for this part instead of oil as it makes the overall stew richer in flavor.
- Venison. Depending on where you purchase your venison, it could come in cubed venison stew meat or a venison roast. If you are using a roast, cut the meat into 2-inch cubes.
- Onion and garlic. Essential for aromatics.
- Carrots and celery. Two musts for any richly-flavored broth.
- Salt and black pepper. To taste.
- Tomato paste. For concentrated tangy flavor.
- Beef broth. For a hearty broth, beef broth compliments venison perfectly. This can be swapped for chicken broth if necessary.
- Red wine. For a richer, deeper flavor. This can be swapped for more beef broth if desired.
- Worcestershire sauce. Powerful umami flavor that will leave guests wondering what your secret ingredient is!
- Italian seasoning and bay leaves. For herby spice and flavor.
- Potatoes. Preferably baby white potatoes sliced in half to make a heartier stew. You can use larger ones, but cut them into quarters.
- Peas. Frozen preferably, to add a subtle sweetness.
- Fresh parsley. For garnish.
How to make venison stew
What I love about this venison stew recipe is that it is made stove top instead of a slow cooker or pressure cooker. Don’t fret though- the meat MELTS in your mouth!
Step 1- Sear the meat: Add venison to an oiled Dutch oven or soup pot set over medium heat. Cook until it’s seared on all sides, then transfer to a plate and set aside.
Step 2- Cook the vegetables: Add butter to the pot and increase the heat to medium-high. Cook the onions, carrots, and celery with salt and pepper until the veggies are soft and fragrant. Then, add garlic and tomato paste and cook, stirring frequently, until the garlic is fragrant.
Step 3- Build the broth: Return the meat to the pot. Then, add the beef broth, wine, Worcestershire sauce, Italian seasoning, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes or until the meat is tender.
Step 4- Add potatoes: Add the potatoes to the pot, stir, then cover and cook until the potatoes are fork tender.
Step 5- Add peas and serve: Remove bay leaves and stir in the peas. Cook until the peas are warmed through. Then, divide the stew among bowls and garnish with parsley. Let it cool and enjoy!
Can I use a slow cooker?
Yes! Easily make a crockpot venison stew with a few small tweaks.
Start by adding oil to a non-stick pan and sear the venison until it’s browned, then transfer it to a slow cooker. Next, add butter and cook the onions, carrots, celery, salt, and pepper until the veggies are tender. Add garlic and tomato paste and cook until the garlic is fragrant. Now, transfer the veggies to the slow cooker then add the remaining ingredients. Finally, close the lid and cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 2-3 hours.
Recipe tips and variations
- Don’t skip the searing. Searing locks in the flavor and adds a subtle caramelized exterior to the meat.
- Reduce any gamey flavors. Not a fan of the gamey taste of venison? Soak the meat in milk for up to 2 days before cooking to reduce the earthy flavor. Alternatively, you can swap the venison for beef stew meat.
- Be patient. The trick to cooking venison is to go low and slow. Otherwise, the meat will turn out tough and chewy. Your patience will be rewarded!
- Thicken the stew. If you want an even thicker stew, make a simple cornstarch slurry and stir it at the end. To make this slurry, combine 1 tablespoon cornstarch with 1 1/2 tablespoons water and whisk together.
- Omit the potatoes. If you plan on serving the stew over mashed potatoes, polenta, or buttery egg noodles, skip the potatoes.
To store: Once the stew cools, transfer the leftovers to an airtight container and store them in the fridge for up to 3-4 days.
To reheat: Microwave in 30-second intervals or heat in a pot set over medium heat. Allow frozen leftovers to thaw overnight in the fridge, or add more reheating time.
To freeze: Transfer the cooled stew to a freezer-safe container and freeze for up to three months.
More comfort soup and stew recipes to try
Frequently asked questions
The foreleg and shoulder cuts are the best for stew as they turn out juicy and fall-apart tender when cooked in soup for an extended period.
Venison stew is richly flavorful, so it’s best paired with simple sides like air fryer garlic bread, cornbread, or dinner rolls to soak up the broth.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 pounds venison cubed
- 1 small white onion chopped
- 2 carrots peeled and chopped
- 2 stalks celery chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 6 cups beef broth
- 1 cup red wine or more beef broth
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 pound baby potatoes halved
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley chopped
- Add oil to a large Dutch oven or soup pot and place over medium heat. Add the venison and cook until seared on all sides, about 10 minutes. Remove from the pot.
- Add the butter and heat over medium-high heat. Cook onion, carrots, celery, salt, and pepper until the onion is fragrant. Add garlic and tomato paste and cook, stirring, until garlic is fragrant.
- Return the venison to the pot. Add the beef broth, wine, Worcestershire sauce, Italian seasoning, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes or until the venison is tender.
- Add potatoes and simmer, covered, until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.
- Remove bay leaves then stir in peas and cook until warmed through. Divide stew among bowls. Top with parsley.
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