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Monday, January 16, 2012

Venison Bourguignon

Every month, on the anniversary of our wedding day, I prepare a meal to pair with a beer from Three Floyds Brewery. We received 12 for a wedding gift from some very special friends. This month's selection was a Moloko Milk Stout, which is a thick, hearty stout, and it needed a hearty meal to match.

I have always wanted to try to make Beef Bourguignon, it is one of those classic French dishes from the Julia Child cook book. We have deer in the freezer, so I thought it would be even better with venison. And it was delicious, but very labor intensive. So, this is not a weeknight meal, but definitely worth the effort. I served it over horseradish mashed potatoes.

Venison Bourguignon
1 tablespoon olive oil
8 ounces bacon
2 1/2 pounds venison, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 pound carrots, peeled and sliced diagonally into 1 inch chunks
2 yellow onions, diced
2 teaspoons garlic, minced
1/2 cup cognac
1 750ml bottle dry red wine (shiraz or pinot noir)
2 cups beef broth
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
4 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1/2 pound frozen pearl onions
1 pound fresh mushrooms, stems discarded, caps sliced

Preheat oven to 250. Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven. Add the bacon and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the bacon is crispy. Remove the bacon from the oven.

Sprinkle the venison with salt and pepper, and sear the cubes in the bacon fat in single layers, for 3-5 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Set aside.

Toss the carrots, onions, 1 teaspoon of salt and 2 teaspoons of pepper in the fat in the pan, and cook for 10-15 minutes, until the onionns are golden brown. Add the garlic, and cook for 1 more minute. Add the cognac, stand back, and ignite with a match to burn off the alcohol. Put the meat and bacon back in the pot, add the bottle of wine and the beef broth and stir. Add tomato paste and thyme. Bring to a simmer, cover the pot with a lid and place in the oven for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until the meat is tender.

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