Venison Stew Marengo
3 pounds of venison roast, cut into 2 inch chunks
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup finely chopped onions
1 tablespoon finely minced garlic
1 & 1/2 cups beef stock, preferably fresh
1 cup seeded, peeled and coarsely chopped tomatoes or drained, canned tomatoes
2 two inch strips of fresh lemon peel
3 tablespoons butter
3/4 pound fresh mushrooms, whole if small, sliced or quartered if large
2 tablespoons finely minced parsley
1/2 cup dry white wine
- Preheat oven to 500 degrees F. Dry the venison with paper towels. In a heavy 10 inch cast iron skillet, heat oil to smoking point. Add the venison 4 or 5 chunks at a time. Sauté until crusted on all sides, then transfer to a heavy, ovenproof 4 to 5 quart casserole. When all of the venison is browned, discard the oil, wipe the skillet and set aside.
- Sprinkle the browned venison with the thyme, salt, fresh ground pepper, and the flour. Toss the meat to coat evenly. Place the casserole, uncovered, in the oven and cook the venison, turning it several times, for about 10 minutes, or until the meat is slightly crusted and does not appear gummy from the flour. Remove from the oven. Reduce the oven heat to 325 degrees F.
- Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in the wiped skillet over low heat. Cook the onions and garlic, scraping any browned bits that cling to the pan, for about 10 minutes, or until the onions have softened and browned a bit. Don't let it scorch. Add the wine and stock; bring to a boil over high heat. Boil for a couple of minutes, then pour into the casserole, scraping the skillet clean. Stir in the tomatoes, lemon peel and bouquet garni.
- Bring the casserole to boil on top of the stove, cover tightly and cook on the middle shelf of the oven for 1 to 1 & 1/4 hours, or until the venison is fork tender. Meanwhile, melt 3 tablespoons butter in a skillet. Add the mushrooms and toss them in the butter for about 3 minutes, turning them constantly with a spoon. When the venison is done, add the mushrooms and whatever liquid has accumulated in the mushroom skillet to the casserole. Continue cooking the casserole for another 10 to 15 minutes.
- Remove the casserole from the oven and ladle the entire contents into a large sieve set over a 2 to 3 quart saucepan. After the sauce drains, discard the lemon peel and bouquet garni. Wash the casserole and return the venison and mushrooms to it. Remove as much fat as possible from the drained sauce. Bring to a boil, reducing it to about 2 cups. Taste for seasoning, then pour the sauce over the venison. Just before serving, simmer the dish for 5 to 10 minutes. Serve the venison directly from the casserole or plate it on a large platter. Garnish with chopped parsley.