If you’re reading this you’re the awesome 5% of my readers who actually like venison…or maybe you’re just intrigued. Who knows, but I’m glad you’re here. If you were to ask me what the best thing I’ve ever cooked was, I would say Red Wine Braised Venison over Pumpkin Risotto. I started cooking this about a year ago when my husband’s boss first came over for dinner. Just so happens that my cousin was there as well. It was a full house, the beginning of fall, I was completely nervous and I needed something big, bold, impressive, and easy to cook. I had to bring out the big guns, so to speak.
We eat wild game a lot, especially venison because it comes from our family ranch. It’s as wild, organic, and sustainable as you can get. It’s also one of those meats that I just know how to cook and pair flavors with because I’ve been using it for years. So, on that glorious night I slow braised a venison hind quarter roast with Chinese five spice and red wine until it was incredibly tender and fell apart. Then I served it over a pumpkin risotto with a touch of nutmeg. It was a poetic combination of flavors that put all of us in a food coma — it was just…perfect. Now it’s on regular rotation for Sunday night dinners in the fall and winter months. Unfortunately, this is the last week of winter so we’re making this one last time before the warm sunny days hit and we will not be craving these bold comfort meals until the winds change again.
It may look like a lot of effort but it’s really fairly simple. It just takes time to prepare and you can even braise the venison a day in advance if you wish. The risotto involves about 25 minutes of work so be prepared for that. I just open a bottle of wine and make sure everyone has a seat in the kitchen while it’s cooking.
Venison roast slow braised in red wine and five spice until perfectly tender and placed on a beautiful creamy bed of pumpkin risotto is an indulgent meal to impress or just to enjoy as a home cooked Sunday family meal. From my Texas kitchen to yours, waving goodbye to winter and cheers to spring!
Venison roast slow braised in red wine and five spice until perfectly tender and placed on a beautiful creamy bed of pumpkin risotto is an indulgent meal to impress or just to enjoy as a home cooked Sunday family meal.
for the venison
- 1 - 4 to 6 pound (bone in or out) venison hind quarter or shoulder roast
- 1 tablespoon Chinese five spice
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons grapeseed or canola oil
- 2 cups red wine, *Cotes du Rhone is suggested
for the risotto
- 6 cups chicken stock
- 4 tablespoons butter, unsalted
- 1 shallot, minced
- 1 cup carnaroli rice
- 1/2 cup dry white wine, try a Chablis
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 325°F.
- Evenly season the venison roast with Chinese five spice, salt, and pepper.
- In a large and heavy braising pot or Dutch oven, heat oil over high heat. Place the roast in the oil and sear for 3 to 4 minutes a side or until browned. Add wine, cover, and transfer to the oven. Braise for 4 to 5 hours, flipping the roast once, until tender and falling apart. Remove the roast to a carving board and tent with foil to keep warm.
- Place the pot on the stove and bring the cooking juices to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes or until the juices have thickened and reduced by half. _While the cooking juices are reducing, start the risotto.
- Heat the stock in a pot and keep it on low heat.
- In a separate heavy bottom pot or sauté pan, heat 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat until melted. Add shallot and a pinch of salt; sauté 2 minutes until softened. Add rice and toast over medium heat for 2 minutes, being careful to not brown. Add wine and stir with a wooden spoon. Reduce the heat to a simmer. Once the wine has absorbed into the rice add one ladle or cup of stock, stir frequently. Once the stock has absorbed into the rice add another ladle of stock and stir. Repeat this process for the next 15 minutes, about 2 more times. Taste the rice. Is it cooked? If not, add another ladle of stock and cook until the stock is absorbed and the rice is al dente (cooked but a has a bite to it).
- Add pumpkin, cheese, nutmeg, the remaining 2 tablespoons butter, and salt and pepper to taste; stir. Cook for 1 more minute. If the risotto is stiff and thick, add stock a little at a time until fluid. The risotto should be slightly loose and spread on the plate — it should not stand or be stiff. Serve immediately.
- Using a fork, pull the venison apart into large bite sized pieces. To serve: Spoon the risotto onto a plate, top with venison, and spoon the reduction over the venison.
by Meredith Steele
Arborio rice can be substituted for carnaroli but carnaroli is prefered. *Wine suggestion: Cotes du Rhone. It's my favorite to pair with venison.