Venison, Parsnip & Turnip Stew

We try to buy and eat food that's in season, and during the winter months, that includes a lot of potatoes, squash and root vegetables. Here's a simple recipe that will help you take advantage of limited winter produce options: This venison, parsnip and turnip stew is a hearty meal that will help chase those January and February blues away. 

For the best stew, use cuts that have a lot of silver skin. Connective tissues break down when cooked low and slow, and provides that expected gristly, yet tender stew-like texture.

White-tailed deer, mulies, elk, moose, antelope ... any of these animals will work for this recipe. We often get this question: You have so many venison recipes, but anything for elk? 

News flash. It's all venison and recipes are interchangeable. While there are nuances in flavor across different species, the meat is more or less similar in the way you cook them. Just pay attention to timing: the older the animal, the longer it will take to tenderize. Be patient. If a recipe calls for a deer loin, and all you have is moose, obviously there will be a size difference and you will have to take that into account. 

We use mostly white-tailed deer in our recipes because that's the big game that's most abundant where we live. If you only have access to moose meat, well then-- I just don't feel that sorry for you.

Servings: 4-6 
Prep Time: 15 minutes  
Cooking Time: 3 hours  
- 3 pounds venison stew meat (deer, antelope, elk, moose, etc.), do not remove silver skin 
- Salt and pepper to taste 
- 5 tablespoons flour 
- 1 onion, chopped 
- Cooking oil 
- 3 ribs of celery, cut into large sections 
- 1 bay leaf 
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary or fresh leaves, chopped  
- 1½ cups dry red wine 
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste 
- 5 garlic cloves, smashed 
- 2 quarts unsalted/low sodium game or beef stock
- 2 large carrots, chopped into large pieces 
- 2 parsnips, peeled and chopped into large pieces 
- 2 turnips, chopped into large pieces 
- Flat leaf parsley for garnish 
- Crusty bread for serving on the side

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Pat meat dry with paper towels and toss with salt and pepper to taste in a bowl. Then toss with the flour. In a Dutch oven, coat the bottom with oil and heat over medium-high. Shake off excess flour from meat and add to the hot oil (in batches) and brown to form a nice crust. Set remaining flour aside for a later step. Remove browned meat and set aside. 

2. Add more oil to the pot. Add chopped onion, pinch of salt, bay leaf, rosemary and celery and sauté until onion turns translucent; lower heat if necessary to avoid burning. Next, add the tomato paste, remaining flour from step 1 and garlic, and sauté for 1 minute.     

3. Add wine and scrape the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon to release brown bits. Allow wine to simmer and reduce by one quarter, stirring frequently. Return browned stew meat to the pot and pour in game or beef stock. Stir and bring to a low boil.   

4.  Take off heat. Cover the opening of the pot with foil, and then place the lid on top – the foil helps to slow down moisture loss. Cook in a 350-degree oven for about 1 hour and 30 minutes. Then discard the foil and add the carrots, parsnips and turnips and continue to cook covered for another 30-45 minutes or until meat and vegetables become tender. For a thicker stew, remove the foil earlier or simmer uncovered over the stove to reduce. 

Taste for seasoning and garnish with freshly chopped parsley. Serve with crusty bread. This stew tastes better the day after.