My husband is an occasional hunter... which means in 20 years of deer hunting he has only killed two deer.

One last year and one this year.

Of course, we must eat what he kills... it's only right! For years I dreaded the day he would fill our freezer with deer meat!

I had no idea what I was missing... I stuck my culinary nose up at the thought of "gamey meat"! That is until I made 


or Gnocchi with Venison Stew. It is so delicious I served it for Christmas dinner... and then make another pot full and served it to more guest later Christmas week!

It is the best stew I have ever eaten...

No gamey taste here! Only wonderful rich flavors with earthy undertones of mushrooms and oaky wine... accented with soft pillows of potato clouds...

If you don't have venison, use beef cubes. I use a chuck roast and have my butcher cut if for me.  I encourage you to give the venison a try... it is FABULOUS!

I made the stew the day before and finished it the next day (see directions). It could also be made in the slow cooker.


1/2 cup porcini mushrooms
1 cup hot water
1 bay leaf
2 sprig of rosemary
2 garlic cloves, pressed
2 TBS olive oil
1 onion, minced
4 TBS bacon 
salt and pepper
*1 1/2 lbs boneless venison, cut into 1 inch cubes, fat removed
1/2 lb good chuck cubes (ask your butcher to cut them for you)
8 oz. white mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup dry red wine
1 TBS tomato paste
1 3/4 cups beef stock
1/2 tsp veal demiglaze, optional
2 bags frozen gnocchi
2 TBS fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

*This is how the deer meat comes from our butcher... camo butcher paper... it cracks me up! My husband LOVES it!

I used a venison roast and cut it into pieces myself.

Soak the dried mushrooms in the hot water until softened, about 30 minutes. Drain mushrooms and reserve liquid.
Rinse and chop mushrooms, discarding any tough pieces. Strain the soaking liquid through a coffee filter lined sieve and save.

Meanwhile, in a large heavy dutch oven, heat the oil over a medium heat. Add the onion and bacon and cook until the bacon is golden brown add pressed garlic and cook an additional minute.

 Take the onions, garlic and bacon out of the pan and reserve. Add mushrooms and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Remove from pan and reserve. Season the venison and beef with salt and pepper. Increase the heat to medium high, add the meat and brown on each side. Add more olive oil as needed.

Add the wine, rosemary, garlic and the bay leave. Add chopped porcini~ stirring until the wine is reduced by half. Stir in the tomato paste and reserved mushroom liquid. Stir. Add stock and bring the liquid to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer, until the meat is tender, about 1 1/2 hours.

  Remove bay leaf and rosemary stems. At this point the stew can be refrigerated and reheated. 

Bring a large pot of water to boil. When it boils, cook gnocchi according to directions. Drain.  If necessary, bring the stew back to a simmer. Gently stir the gnocchi into the stew and simmer to thicken the broth. Add the demiglaze and stir to dissolve.  Add parsley and Parmesan cheese. Stir and serve in bowls.


If you want to try you hand at making homemade gnocchi ( super delicious) I recommend Ann Burell's video. So much fun to watch her at work!

Ann also has a FABULOUS new cookbook called


You can order it on Amazon... I read it cover to cover... a great new addition to my culinary library!