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Venison stew with barley

Posted on March 26, 2012

Many recipes lend themselves to substitutions… if you don’t have turkey, then chicken may be very tasty, as well. It’s no different when it comes to big game. While the barley stew in this edition’s featured recipe is prepared with venison, if all you have is some moose or elk, it is possible to substitute. Know, however, that a different game meat usually will alter the flavor of the prepared dish, but variety can be good!

This recipe calls for a boneless venison shoulder or rump, but other acceptable substitutions would be a rump roast from any big-game animal; venison sirloin tip; rolled, tied bottom round from venison or antelope, or an eye round of moose. Substitutions for the shoulder roast would be a boneless shoulder from any big-game animal; a rolled rib roast from moose, elk or caribou; or a boneless chuck roast from moose, elk or caribou.

½ lb. pearl onions
9 large fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and discarded
(½ to ¾ lb. white mushrooms may be substituted)
2 cups peeled, cubed butternut squash (1-inch cubes)
1 tbsp. canola oil
1¼ tsp. crumbled dried thyme, divided
1½ lbs. boneless venison shoulder or rump, cut into 1-inch cubes
Seasoned pepper
(like McCormick's California Style Blend Garlic Pepper)
3 cups low sodium beef stock
1 bay leaf
1 large clove garlic, minced
¾ cups pearl barley
Water as needed (approx. ¾ cups)
Chopped fresh parsley for garnish

Heat large sauce pan of water to boiling. Add pearl onions and boil for 2 to 3 minutes to loosen skins. Drain and cool slightly. Cut off root ends.

Squeeze onions from stem end; the onions will slip out of their skins.

Place onions in a large bowl. Cut mushroom caps into halves (white mushrooms may be halved or left whole, depending upon size.) Add mushrooms, squash, oil, and 1 teaspoon of the thyme to the bowl with the onions, stirring gently to coat vegetables.

Heat large non-stick skillet over high heat. Add vegetables, reduce heat to medium-high, and saute until browned. Use slotted spoon to return vegetables to bowl; set aside.

Sprinkle venison with seasoned pepper. Brown seasoned venison cubes in small batches and transfer to a plate. When all venison is browned, return it to skillet. Add beef stock, bay leaf, garlic and remaining ¼ teaspoon thyme. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes.

Stir in barley. Cover and simmer for 45 minutes. Stir vegetables into stew. Cover and simmer until vegetables and barley are tender, about 45 minutes longer; add water as needed during cooking to keep mixture moist.

Remove bay leaf. Sprinkle stew with parsley and serve.

Serve with a hot, Italian loaf of bread with a glass of merlot.

Serves: 4
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 2 hours

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