Boozy Venison and Pumpkin Stew

Boozy Venison and Pumpkin Stew

  • Course

    Main

  • Duration

    4 hours

  • Serves

    6
Chef’s notes

I love to celebrate the arrival of hunting season with a hearty, seasonal meal. This boozy stew combines the best fall-flavored ingredients: slow-cooked venison, pumpkin, and a shot of bourbon to make a rich and savory dinner.

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 -3 lbs. venison stew meat
  • 1 tbsp. cooking oil
  • 3 tbsp. butter
  • 1 large sweet onion, diced
  • 4 parsnips (or carrots), roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup bourbon or whiskey
  • 6 cups venison or beef stock
  • 2 tbsp. maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 cups pumpkin purée*
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/8 tsp. allspice
  • 3-4 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • Kosher salt and fresh-cracked pepper to taste
  • Buttery polenta or bread for serving

Also works with

Waterfowl thighs, turkey thighs, bear, hog, small game

Special equipment

Dutch oven or crockpot

Preparation

  1. Heat a large Dutch oven or pot over high heat. Drizzle cooking oil to lightly coat the bottom and brown the chunks of stew meat, working in batches as needed. Generously season with kosher salt and black pepper.
  2. Remove the venison and reduce the heat to medium. Drop in the butter and, once it melts, add the diced onion. Sauté for 4-6 minutes or until the onion begins to soften. Add the parsnips next and cook down for another few minutes.
  3. Carefully pour the bourbon into the pot. If you’re using a gas burner, the pot will likely catch on fire as the alcohol burns off. If you’re not a fan of flambé, turn the heat off before pouring in the liquor and allow the alcohol to boil out.
  4. Pour stock into the pan and scrape the bits on the bottom. Stir in the remaining ingredients: maple syrup, pumpkin purée, cinnamon stick, allspice, and thyme.
  5. Return the venison, place a lid on the pot, and reduce the heat to low. Allow the stew to simmer for several hours until the meat is tender. About halfway through the cook time, remove the lid so the liquids can reduce and concentrate in flavor. Taste and season as needed with extra salt and pepper.
  6. Serve hot with buttery polenta or crusty bread.

*Note: You can used canned pumpkin or homemade purée. To make it yourself, preheat an oven to 375 degrees. Cut the top off the pumpkin and scoop out the seeds. Place the top back on and roast in the oven for 1 hour or longer, until very soft. You should be able to spoon out the flesh. Remove seeds and pulse in a food processor until smooth.

Chef’s notes

I love to celebrate the arrival of hunting season with a hearty, seasonal meal. This boozy stew combines the best fall-flavored ingredients: slow-cooked venison, pumpkin, and a shot of bourbon to make a rich and savory dinner.

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 -3 lbs. venison stew meat
  • 1 tbsp. cooking oil
  • 3 tbsp. butter
  • 1 large sweet onion, diced
  • 4 parsnips (or carrots), roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup bourbon or whiskey
  • 6 cups venison or beef stock
  • 2 tbsp. maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 cups pumpkin purée*
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/8 tsp. allspice
  • 3-4 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • Kosher salt and fresh-cracked pepper to taste
  • Buttery polenta or bread for serving

Also works with

Waterfowl thighs, turkey thighs, bear, hog, small game

Special equipment

Dutch oven or crockpot

Preparation

  1. Heat a large Dutch oven or pot over high heat. Drizzle cooking oil to lightly coat the bottom and brown the chunks of stew meat, working in batches as needed. Generously season with kosher salt and black pepper.
  2. Remove the venison and reduce the heat to medium. Drop in the butter and, once it melts, add the diced onion. Sauté for 4-6 minutes or until the onion begins to soften. Add the parsnips next and cook down for another few minutes.
  3. Carefully pour the bourbon into the pot. If you’re using a gas burner, the pot will likely catch on fire as the alcohol burns off. If you’re not a fan of flambé, turn the heat off before pouring in the liquor and allow the alcohol to boil out.
  4. Pour stock into the pan and scrape the bits on the bottom. Stir in the remaining ingredients: maple syrup, pumpkin purée, cinnamon stick, allspice, and thyme.
  5. Return the venison, place a lid on the pot, and reduce the heat to low. Allow the stew to simmer for several hours until the meat is tender. About halfway through the cook time, remove the lid so the liquids can reduce and concentrate in flavor. Taste and season as needed with extra salt and pepper.
  6. Serve hot with buttery polenta or crusty bread.

*Note: You can used canned pumpkin or homemade purée. To make it yourself, preheat an oven to 375 degrees. Cut the top off the pumpkin and scoop out the seeds. Place the top back on and roast in the oven for 1 hour or longer, until very soft. You should be able to spoon out the flesh. Remove seeds and pulse in a food processor until smooth.

Shop
The Essential Meatcrafter Knife
Save this product
Benchmade

A hybrid hunting fixed blade with a fine, smooth edge to trim, debone, or slice your preferred cuts of meat. Makes just as much sense in the back of your truck as it does in the kitchen drawer.

Meater+ Bluetooth Thermometer
Save this product
Meater

With up to 165 ft Wireless Range, MEATER is the first truly wireless smart meat thermometer.

7 Seasonings Gift Pack
Save this product
MeatEater

Bring home the entire Mega Spice Collection and change the way you cook.

The MeatEater Fish and Game Cookbook
Save this product
MeatEater

The definitive guide to cooking wild game, including fish and fowl, featuring more than 100 new recipes.

Get the latest in your inbox
Subscribe to our newsletters to receive regular emails with hand-picked content, gear recommendations, and special deals.
Our picks for the week's best content and gear
For the whitetail obsessed, with Mark Kenyon
Redefining our connection to food, with Danielle Prewett
Your one-stop for everything waterfowl, with Sean Weaver
Get out on the water with the MeatEater Fishing crew
Technical hunting apparel
Purpose-built accessories for hunting and fishing
Quality elk, turkey, waterfowl, and deer calls
Save this recipe

Boozy Venison and Pumpkin Stew

Recipe by: Danielle Prewett
Boozy Venison and Pumpkin Stew
  • Course

    Main

  • Duration

    4 hours

  • Serves

    6
Chef’s notes

I love to celebrate the arrival of hunting season with a hearty, seasonal meal. This boozy stew combines the best fall-flavored ingredients: slow-cooked venison, pumpkin, and a shot of bourbon to make a rich and savory dinner.

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 -3 lbs. venison stew meat
  • 1 tbsp. cooking oil
  • 3 tbsp. butter
  • 1 large sweet onion, diced
  • 4 parsnips (or carrots), roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup bourbon or whiskey
  • 6 cups venison or beef stock
  • 2 tbsp. maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 cups pumpkin purée*
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/8 tsp. allspice
  • 3-4 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • Kosher salt and fresh-cracked pepper to taste
  • Buttery polenta or bread for serving

Also works with

Waterfowl thighs, turkey thighs, bear, hog, small game

Special equipment

Dutch oven or crockpot

Preparation

  1. Heat a large Dutch oven or pot over high heat. Drizzle cooking oil to lightly coat the bottom and brown the chunks of stew meat, working in batches as needed. Generously season with kosher salt and black pepper.
  2. Remove the venison and reduce the heat to medium. Drop in the butter and, once it melts, add the diced onion. Sauté for 4-6 minutes or until the onion begins to soften. Add the parsnips next and cook down for another few minutes.
  3. Carefully pour the bourbon into the pot. If you’re using a gas burner, the pot will likely catch on fire as the alcohol burns off. If you’re not a fan of flambé, turn the heat off before pouring in the liquor and allow the alcohol to boil out.
  4. Pour stock into the pan and scrape the bits on the bottom. Stir in the remaining ingredients: maple syrup, pumpkin purée, cinnamon stick, allspice, and thyme.
  5. Return the venison, place a lid on the pot, and reduce the heat to low. Allow the stew to simmer for several hours until the meat is tender. About halfway through the cook time, remove the lid so the liquids can reduce and concentrate in flavor. Taste and season as needed with extra salt and pepper.
  6. Serve hot with buttery polenta or crusty bread.

*Note: You can used canned pumpkin or homemade purée. To make it yourself, preheat an oven to 375 degrees. Cut the top off the pumpkin and scoop out the seeds. Place the top back on and roast in the oven for 1 hour or longer, until very soft. You should be able to spoon out the flesh. Remove seeds and pulse in a food processor until smooth.