If you missed the boat on corning venison for St. Paddy’s Day this year, make this classic Irish stew instead. In this recipe the Guinness goes in at two stages—at the beginning and again before serving. This gives the stew depth without concentrating the beer too much, which in this case can actually be a bad thing.
Another great shortcut: Braise the stew uncovered for most of its cooking duration. You can also brown the venison in the oven, which allows you to skip the step of frying the meat beforehand. In addition to neck meat, you could also use meat from the shoulder or shank; the more gristle and silver skin, the better.
- 3 lbs. boneless venison neck, cut into 1½-inch cubes
- Kosher salt
- Freshly cracked pepper
- 3 tbsp. vegetable oil
- 2 onions, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp. tomato paste
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 3 cups unsalted chicken stock (or light game stock)
- 1¼ cups Guinness Draught
- 1½ tbsp. packed dark brown sugar
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 lb. yellow potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 4 carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 2 tbsp. minced fresh parsley
- Sourdough bread bowls
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Move oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat to 400°F. Season venison cubes with salt and roast for 3 to 4 minutes. Stir once or twice to ensure equal browning. Remove the meat and set aside and turn the oven down to 325°F.
In a large enameled Dutch oven, heat 3 tablespoons of oil over medium heat. Add chopped onion with a pinch of salt and cook until brown, stirring occasionally for about 10 minutes. Next, add tomato paste and garlic and stir for 1 minute. Sprinkle in flour and stir for 2 minutes. Then whisk in stock, ¾ cup Guinness, brown sugar, thyme, and rosemary, scraping the bottom of the pot to release browned bits. Simmer until slightly thickened, 2 to 3 minutes.
Add venison to the pot and bring back to simmer. Transfer the pot, uncovered, to the 325°F oven. Cook for 2 hours or until venison is almost tender—cooking time will vary. Stir halfway through cooking. Then add potatoes and carrots and continue cooking, covered this time, until vegetables and meat are tender, about 1 hour.
Before serving, discard thyme and rosemary sprigs and stir in remaining ½ cup of Guinness and chopped parsley. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle into bread bowls.