On October 19, 2010 I moved from the US to The Netherlands. This is a love story many years in the making.

(An aside) Recepten! Wild hertenragout!

Otherwise more prosaically known as venison stew. I adapted a recipe I found online. These are the ingredients I used:

  • 1 kilo boned venison shoulder
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 2 onions, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 150g piece smoked streaky bacon or pancetta diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 1 can Champignon ragout (or cream of mushroom soup)
  • 1 package sliced mushrooms
  • 300ml dark beer
  • 2 tsp soft light brown sugar
  • 1 or 2 bay leaves
  • 2 sprigs of thyme
  • a few squirts of balsamic cream
  • salt, pepper, and chili oil
  • 500g potatoes, the kind that dissolve when you cook them long enough
  • spinach
  • Roasted baby carrots and mash, to serve

I cut the venison up into 1 inch cubes, and seared them over high heat with the oil, then reserved it to a bowl.

Then I minced the onion, and sauteed them slowly in the same pan until translucent, and a little brown. Then the pancetta. And then tossed the whole mess into the bowl with the meat.

Into a large, heavy bottomed stainless steel pot went the mushroom ragout. I rinsed out the sautee’ pan with a little beer, and poured it into the pot. You don’t want to miss out on all the yummy brown stuff! Then I dumped in the meat/onion/pancetta mixture, then the sliced mushies. While stirring I added the flour a little at a time, then the sugar, then poured in enough beer to just cover it all.

  • VERY IMPORTANT! This stew is only going to be as good as the beer you use. Find the best, richest, heaviest, darkest, most alcoholic beer you can get your hands on. Something made by Belgian monks is a good choice. Guinness would work too, but you want something a little sweeter if you can get it.

Add the thyme, bay leaf, pepper, and a little salt. Bring to a slow boil and then reduce to the barest simmer, cover, and walk away for an hour or so. Then add the balsamic cream, and chili oil to taste. Stir it, and correct as you think is good. Add the potatoes. Cover it and let it cook for at least another 2 hours. Sometimes during that, come back and mush up the potatoes so that they are reduced to flour. This will thicken your stew perfectly. If you don’t want to use potatoes, you can use flour or corn starch, but becareful and add it a little at a time, stirring a lot and allowing the flour to absorb liquid before you add more. You don’t want to turn it into glop.

Total cooking time: about 3.5 hours for it to come out right.

I served this with roasted carrots and mashed potatoes:

  • Cut up a bunch of baby carrots by slicing them lengthwise. Toss with olive oil and salt, spread in a single layer in a baking sheet, and pop into a 400 degree oven (200C) until brown and yummy. Roasting brings out the carroty flavor in a marvelous way.
  • Boil 500g potatoes (the right kind – in The Netherlands there are so many kinds of potatoes you really have to be careful! Here, you need the “vast” or “solid” potatoes for this) until you can easily pierce them with a fork. Drain them, throw in some butter, mash them, add a little roasted garlic – I use the kind that comes in a jar because I’m lazy – and some milk or cream, salt and pepper, and mash until they are the consistency you want them. Cover and let rest for 5 mins while you assemble the meal.

If you made only enough stew for one meal, right before serving, add a big bag of spinach and stir it in. The heat of the stew will cook the leaves just right. If you made enough to have leftovers, don’t do that, cos the spinach will turn yucky when you re-heat it. Instead, pack the bowls you intend to serve the stew in with spinach, and then ladle the meat over it. Wait a few minutes and stir it up.

  • This will add visual interest to an otherwise really boring looking bowl, it tastes good, and spinach is really good for you!

Enjoy! This is really, really good, and very easy!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s