I make this recipe often, having found it in an old cookbook and changed it around to fit my taste. It’s a little step up from stew, and is delicious leftover as well as the night it is made.  Once the prep work is done here, the rest of the recipe is a breeze. I like to serve it over mashed potatoes, rice, pasta, or couscous. This recipe originally appeared in the print edition of The Vine with the article Hunt, Cook, Eat: Venison in the Freezer, Dinner on the Table.

Serves 4

  • 6 slices of bacon
  • 2 to 2 1/2 pounds venison roast, trimmed of silver skin and cut into
  • 1 ½-inch cubes
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Olive oil as needed
  • 2 medium onions, diced
  • (about 2 cups)
  • 2 medium carrots, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 4 cloves of garlic, lightly crushed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 four-inch piece of celery 
  • 6 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • (more for garnish if desired)
  • 2 sprigs of fresh parsley
  • (more for garnish if desired)
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup brandy
  • 2 cups dry red wine
  • 3 cups low-sodium beef stock or homemade venison stock
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 8 to 10 ounces cremini or other
  • favorite earthy mushrooms, cut
  • however you like
  • Cooking twine
  • (or twine and cheesecloth)
  • For serving: mashed potatoes, rice, pasta or couscous


1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. (Remove extra rack if necessary.) Chop the bacon into bite-size pieces. Remember, bacon shrinks, so think big.

2. In a medium Dutch oven (4 to 5 quarts), brown the bacon over medium heat. Transfer the bacon pieces to a plate, leaving the drippings in the pot.

3. Dry the venison with paper towels and season it lightly with salt and pepper. Working in batches, fry the meat in the bacon grease over medium heat (or medium-high, depending on your stove) until lightly browned on all sides. Don’t cram the pan! Transfer to a plate. (If you need additional fat, use a bit of olive oil.)

4. Add the carrots and onion to the pot; season with salt and pepper. Cook, loosely covered, stirring a few times, until softened and lightly browned, 6 to 8 minutes. 

5. Make your bouquet garni. Tuck the garlic inside the celery stalk, nestle the bay leaf, thyme and parsley on top of the garlic, and tie securely with cooking twine. (Alternatively, wrap all in cheesecloth.)

6. Return the bacon, venison, and any liquids on the plate back into the pot. Add the flour and stir for a few minutes to coat evenly. Stir in the tomato paste. Add the bouquet garni.

7. Add the brandy. Let it reduce by half, stirring often, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the wine. Let it reduce by about half, stirring often, about 6 to 8 minutes. 

8. Add the beef broth and stir well. Cover the Dutch oven, transfer to the oven, and cook, checking and stirring every 40 minutes or so for about 2 hours, or until the venison is fork-tender. (When checking, add a bit of broth or water to the liquids if they have reduced too much. The meat does not have to be covered but you don’t want the pan to dry out.) 

9. While the stew is cooking, cook the mushrooms. Melt the butter in a medium skillet and sauté mushrooms over medium heat until they release their moisture and begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

10. When the stew comes out of the oven, stir in the mushrooms. Combine well. Pull herb bundle out and chuck it. Serve the Bourguignon over homemade mashed potatoes, rice, pasta or couscous. Garnish with chopped parsley and thyme leaves or sprigs if desired.