Braises are one of my very favorite ways to cook. Meals cooked with this method are always full of flavor and body. Meats that work well when braised are usually proteins that have a lot of muscle fiber and connective tissue. As this breaks down, it dissolves into gelatin which adds body and to the cooking liquid. Successful braises intermingle the flavor of the vegetables, herbs, and liquids making it a delight to enjoy! To me, if the meat is marinated overnight with an acidic liquid such as tomato juice, wine, beer, and even coke, the meat becomes more tender and succulent than if braised without the marinade. If I am in a hurry, I skip this step, but a little of the richness is missing in the final result.
Last night I wanted to create a one pot meal that was exceptionally tasty, but fairly easy. This Braised Venison recipe is easy and seriously delicious. It is one that you will make weekly and is perfect for the hunting camp! I used my Dutch Oven, but this dish would work equally as well in a crock pot and can be prepared quickly using a Can Cooker.
- 2 pounds venison roast cut into 1 inch cubes
- 1 1/2 cup red wine
- Kosher salt and pepper
- 5 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 6 ounces no nitrate bacon chopped
- 4 carrots peeled and roughly chopped
- 2 yellow onions chopped
- 4 ribs celery roughly chopped
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 pound potatoes cut into 2 inch cubes
- 1 pound button mushrooms halved
- 1 tablespoon thyme
- 2 tablespoons oregano
- 2 tablespoons rosemary
- 1 quart beef stock
- 16 ounces canned tomatoes crushed with your hands
In a large bowl, place venison and red wine. Marinade in the refrigerator overnight or at room temperature for at least 2 hours. While reserving wine marinade, remove the venison to a rack and dry with a paper towel. Venison needs to be dry to brown properly. Liberally salt and pepper the venison.
In a Dutch Oven or large cast iron skillet, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil until almost smoking. Brown venison in batches adding oil to the pan as needed. Remove venison to a plate and set aside.
Add bacon, carrots, onions, celery, and garlic to the pan and cook over medium-high heat until browned and onions are translucent (about 6 minutes). Add potatoes, mushrooms, thyme, oregano, rosemary, reserved wine, beef stock, tomatoes, and 1tablespoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper to the pan. Bring mixture to a boil and add venison back to the pan. Cover and simmer for 2 hours. Turn the heat off and allow to sit uncovered for 30 minutes. This seems to allow the meat to tenderize even more. Serve with crusty bread! So so good!!
The trick to this recipe is to allow the braise to rest for 30 minutes uncovered.