Venison, Fig and Olive Stew

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venison, fig and olive stew

A perfect stew for a cold winter night—venison, fig and olive stew. Bliss.

How about that crazy cold snap we had throughout the U.S. last week? Brrr. I like the cold, but sheesh. That was a little much. However, the freezing temperatures put me in the mood to make some nice warm stew! What is better on a chilly night than the smell of stew simmering on the stove? Nothing, that’s what. I found a recipe for a lamb and fig stew on Eating Well, and thought it would adapt well to venison. This venison, fig and olive stew is really more of a chili, but how can that possibly be a bad thing? Especially since I’d wanted to make chili, but couldn’t find chili powder anywhere. Really. I’ve never heard of stores running out of it, but this was no ordinary week.

Now some of you may be a little skeptical about the figs and olives in this stew. Trust me. You’ll like it. How do I know? Because Rick, who refused to eat either, loved this stew. There is something about the sweetness of the figs and the saltiness of the olives that blends perfectly with venison. It is magical. There are very few ingredients in the stew (well, few for a stew), but each one maximizes the flavors of the others. It’s a great relationship. We ate this over the course of a few days, and it just got better every day.

I suggest serving it with a nice, crusty country bread. I made a whole wheat loaf that we slathered with butter. I’m smiling merely at the memory!

This stew is super easy to make, so give it a try. You will be happy you did.

: Venison, Fig and Olive Stew

: sweet and salty, these flavors blend beautifully

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground venison
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 10 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 tsp herbs de Provence
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 2 pints venison broth (or low-sodium beef broth if you don’t have venison broth)
  • 2 Tbs Xantham gum or cornstarch
  • 1 28-oz can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1/2 cup chopped dried figs
  • 1/4 cup green olives (pimentos removed), sliced in half
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • juice of one lemon
  • zest of one lemon

Instructions

  1. Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the ground venison and brown (about 5 minutes). Remove browned venison to a bowl and set aside.
  2. Add the garlic and Herbs de Provence to the Dutch oven and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant (about 1/2 minute).
  3. Add the wine and cook, scraping any brown bits, until alcohol burns off and the mixture is slightly reduced (about 2 minutes).
  4. Combine the venison broth and Xantham Gum/Cornstarch. Add to the Dutch oven, and return to a simmer, stirring often. Don’t worry if the Xantham Gum doesn’t completely dissolve—it never does for me. But it will as it heats up in the pan.
  5. Add the tomatoes, figs, olives, salt, and pepper and return to a simmer. Reduce heat and continue to simmer for about five minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Add the venison and heat through.
  7. Add the lemon juice and lemon zest.
  8. Serve immediately.

Notes

The original recipe calls for lamb, so that would be a nice substitution if you don’t have any ground venison.

Preparation time: 15 minute(s)

Cooking time: 30 minute(s)

Diet tags: High protein

Number of servings (yield): 4

Culinary tradition: Middle Eastern

Copyright © Susan Rose.

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