Wild animals in the season, like deer, represent cold winter evenings but also an unique taste of full meat flavors. One of my big adventures in this season was a 3.5kg piece of roe deer. What a blast!
Let me present you Roe Deer Stew in Red Wine with Apples. This recipe inspired me during my travels in Germany. Roe Deer, marinated in full-flavoured red wine with vegetables and spices like juniper berries, which makes wild meat so rich in flavour. Apples and strawberries give it a little uncommon twist. I have got a beautiful homemade strawberry marmalade with a bit of Balsamic Vinegar and black pepper. My family and friends had a real feast, let me tell you.
Don't be afraid of processing this kind of meat. It is very easy to prepare. Basically it does the work itself. Wild meat represents a serious competition to a common meat we usually buy. Please enjoy!
Total Time: 45 minutes + 24-48 hours for the marinade + 3 hours of cooking for the stew/6 hour for the ribs
Roe Deer Marinade:
1.5 kg of shoulder with the bone, chopped in smaller pieces (+1.5kg of ribs with the bone optional)
1 bottle of rich full-flavored red wine (e.g. Bordeaux, Rioja, Chianti, etc.)
2 onions, peeled and quartered
4 cloves of garlic, crushed and peeled
2 bay leaves
10 juniper berries
Few branches of fresh rosemary and thyme
The Deer Stew:
3 tablespoons of plain flour
Sea salt and ground black pepper
8 shallots, peeled and diced
2 tablespoons of tomato purée
200g of chestnut mushrooms, peeled and halved
2+1 (to serve with) sweet sour apples, peeled and chopped
Bouquet garni (I used 6 cloves and 10 juniper berries)
3 handfuls of fresh parsley, hardly chopped
Olive oil and butter
Strawberry or cranberry marmalade to serve with
Roe Deer Marinade
1 day ahead
Place all the meat pieces in a large pot or baking tray (ribs on side).
Onions, garlic, herbs and spices in (thyme, rosemary, juniper berries, bay leaves and cloves).
Pour the wine all over and cover with the lid or aluminium foil. Let it work for at least 1 day, up to 48 hours.
Take the meat out of the fridge and drain it out. Remove all the spices, herbs, onion and garlic and save all the liquid.
First, bake the meat, pieces and shoulder bone. Heat up a good amount of butter in an ovenproof deep casserole pan and add all the meat pieces. Nicely braise it for a couple of minutes until it becomes beautifully brown on high heat. Then, take it all out and set aside.
The Deer Stew
Add one tablespoon of olive oil and a knob of butter into the casserole and throw all the shallots. On a medium heat, braise them for couple of minutes until they become nicely golden and soften.
Stir in the tomato purée. Sprinkle with flour and stir. Add one chopped apple and mix.
Add the mushrooms, fresh parsley and meat back in. (Place the shoulder bone on the top. It will create a beautiful rich stock in the casserole.)
Baste the stew with the liquid from the marinade (the red wine sauce). If needed, add some hot boiling water (the meat should be all nicely soaked in it, staring straight at you).
Add bouquet garni, put the lid on and place in the oven for about 3 hours. Take it out in half of the time and season with ground black pepper and sea salt (not too much, just for the taste).
Before the end, add one more chopped apple. Turn off the oven and let it rest inside.
For the ribs, place them all in a large deep cooking pot with all herbs, onions and garlic from the marinade and cover with hot boiling water. Ribs need to be cooked way much longer than stew, so the meat nicely falls off the bone. I cooked it approximately for about 6 hours.
If you already ate some part of the stew, you can add some of the stock and meat from the ribs next day and continue cooking. No limits to imagination, the longer you cook, the better it will be. Next day better, the day after even more (if you have something left).
In case you make the stew with ribs: every time you warm up the stew, do not forget to add one chopped apple before serving as they melt in the stew very quickly.
You can serve the stew with sautéed potatoes, fresh tagliatelle or just like that with some fresh bread. Finish with some strawberry chutney (or any preference you like).
Makes 15 serves.