Venison & Cabbage Stew

Every now and then I find myself just glaring into the fridge and praying to all things holy that an answer will just jump out and proclaim… I AM SUPPER EAT ME! Unfortunately that rarely happens…unless its a frozen block of something mysterious that just happened to land on my foot, which at that point I usually say meh? whatever… and I cook it.  Luckily I still have some venison in the freezer from last year so that seemed fairly obvious, the next piece of the puzzle was the cabbage which I had around. Rarely do I actually cook green cabbage, but most often I use it for cole slaw because I LOVE the stuff. I’ve seen a lot of German and European stew recipes including game or lamb with cabbage so I decided to make a stew. With the right seasonings and beer what can go wrong? Here in the Pocono’s we’re coming up on snow season, its cold its almost winter and the pellet stove is roaring. Some nights you just want something that will warm you up as well as fill you up. I mean whats easier than stew? You toss it in the oven for a few hours and you have something soothing, satisfying and delicious.

It was remarkably comforting, and although I know theres a good deal of people who would not consider the use of venison I find that its my absolute favorite protein. In a world of sustainability, eating local and going green I feel that way too many people judge the idea of hunting as “cruel” instead of really taking into consideration that it is wise. It doesn’t get more local, fresh or organic than your own back yard. I believe that animals deserve a right to be animals, happy animals at that. Even “free range” is not so free. The “free animals” just have larger cages. Eating an animal that has its entire life to do whatever it pleases, to roam free and to eat what it wants, I  think that is much less cruel. It wasn’t raised with the sole purpose of dying and being served at McSomething’s. I don’t believe in killing for sport but for food and nourishment for my family.  The best thing of all for me is knowing that I know exactly where it came from, it wasn’t genetically modified, no ammonia or other chemical additives added, its pure and healthy.  (leaner than turkey or chicken even.) This stew is really very easy, and especially satisfying on cold nights. It would be perfect served with potatoes, roasted veg, sourdough or even plain as a first course.

Venison & Cabbage Stew: 

  • 2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, butter or bacon fat
  • 1 large red onion sliced
  • 2 apples peeled, cored and sliced
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt 
  • 1-2 teaspoons pepper (to taste, I like extra spice)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground sage
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 venison steaks, you could use stewing cubes, or roast
  • 1/2 of a large head of cabbage sliced
  • 2-4 cups beef or veal stock as needed
  • hot sauce & Worcestershire to taste
Pre-heat Oven to 300 degrees.

In a large dutch oven saute onions 3-4 minutes. Add apples, meat and all remaining ingredients. Put on lid and braise for 2 hours. This will vary depending on how much meat you use and what cut. Stewing cubes will be about the same amount of time (2 hours) A whole roast will be about 4 hours. Allow to rest at least 5 minutes before serving. Its great the night of or even the day after.