“Long Lake Monster” Venison Stew

Wild Canadian venison is such a treat and luckily, I know hunters. Perfect for a January storm warning. Stay in. Hunker down. Open a good red wine. Read a book by the fire. This slow cooking recipe takes five or more hours so it’s built for a Canadian Winter storm. Perfect to keep the kitchen warm and house perfumed with a rich mouthwatering flavour while it gently simmers. *If you can’t get wild venison, farmed is good. If not, you can substitute stewing beef for what could be the most amazing beef stew. Ever. Huge thanks to Brian who tracked down this “monster” in Long Lake earlier this Fall.

I know the chocolate at the end sounds weird. Please take my word for it, it adds a richness to this dish with surprising notes that accentuate the aroma. Omit the chocolate out if you want, but it does also thicken the stew a bit like a Mexican Mole. The chocolate used for this recipe is a special flavour developed by the Culinary team at the Elora Mill in collaboration with Cacao-Barry.

Ingredients:

  • *1 kg (2 lb.) Stewing Venison (Thanks to Brian for the Long Lake Monster Venison)
  • 5 ml (1 tsp) Montreal Steak Spice
  • 60 ml (1/4 cup) All-purpose flour
  • 15 ml (1 tbsp) neutral cooking oil
  • 1 onion, peeled and diced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 3 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 shallot, peeled and diced
  • 3 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 dried shiitake mushrooms, finely diced.
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 8 ml (½ tbsp) concentrated beef stock + 250 ml (1 cup) water OR 250 ml (1 cup) Beef/Chicken Stock
  • 1 tall can 673 ml (16 oz.) Waterloo Dark Ale  or similar
  • 1 kg (2 lb or 4-5 medium-large) potatoes, washed and cut into large chunks.
  • 30 g (1 oz.) Bitter Sweet Dark Chocolate, finely chopped. (pictured is the PearleNOIR Dark Chocolate from the Elora Mill)
  • Additional Montreal Steak Spice or Salt if you need it to taste.

Method:

Toss the stewing meat with Montreal steak spice and flour until well coated. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. When the oil just reaches the smoking point, add the meat and brown on all sides. If it sticks a bit or leaves a brown crust in the bottom of the pan, don’t worry about it. That is just building more flavour. Remove the meat, once browned on all sides. Add onion, carrot, celery, shallots, and garlic to the pan. Cook over medium heat until the onion starts to get some colour and is browning. Add the shiitake and bay leaves, stock/water and beer. Scrape all the tasty brown bits from the bottom of the pan as it comes back to a boil. Add the meat back into the pan, bring to a boil then reduce to simmer. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and simmer on very low heat for at least 4 hours. Check occasionally to ensure it has not boiled down. Add more water or beer if needed.

At the beginning of hour 5, add the potatoes. Simmer for an additional hour until the potatoes start to soften. To finish, finely chop the chocolate, add into the stew and mix until just combined. Season it with a bit more Montreal Steak Spice if needed. Serve with some crusty bread and butter. Make sure to find a finely aged Canadian red wine with this one.  Nk’ Mip anyone?

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Author: Jeff

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