There are no authentic ‘Venison Bourguignon’ recipes in the same way as there are no authentic ‘Vegetable Bourguignon’. In food terms Bourguignon is a classic beef dish. That has not stopped us playing with ideas for a similar tasting, but vegetarian dish. We first published our original Vegetable Bourguignon in March 2021 and our amendments to the recipe in October 2022. These are dishes we cook regularly and are also very popular with others on the website. So when we wanted to try a venison based Bourguignon it seemed the ideal place to start.
We have no intention of ever becoming vegetarian, but we have been reducing our overall meat consumption over the last few years. We have added a range of vegetarian and plants-centric dishes to our cooking repertoire over the same time. We refer to some of the dishes on the site as plant-centric because although they are predominantly vegetable based they may not be entirely vegetarian. For instance they may be based on a meat stock rather than vegetable stock, or may be largely vegetable based, with just a little meat included. This is the way we decided to go with this Venison Bourguignon. So we have built it on our Vegetable Bourguignon, but included a little venison and pork lardon in the recipe. We toyed with the idea of calling it Vegetarian Bourguignon with Venison but didn’t want to offend anyone who was vegetarian.
As this dish was only going to use a relatively small proportion of meat we were going to include all the steps we had previously taken to add texture to the vegetarian dish. We therefore kept the swede and the celeriac and kept the root vegetable chunks much larger than you might normally. We also kept our addition of dried wild mushrooms including porcini as these offer a different texture from the fresh mushrooms. The first change we made though was to use beef stock rather than the porcini stock cubes we had used previously, though they would have still worked well.
The first thing to do before anything else was to soak the dried mushrooms. Ideally, we now soak them for 2-3 hours before using them. If that isn’t possible we try to make sure they are soaked for more than the 30mins we used to do it for!
We lit the Big Green Egg and prepared the vegetables as we let it come to a steady temperature of around 180C. We try and use round shallots for this dish and just peel them and leave whole, the carrots celeriac and swede were cut into large chunky pieces and the garlic was coarsely chopped. The button /chestnut mushrooms were left whole if not too large or were halved or quartered. We had some other fresh woodland mushrooms so these were included too. Once the EGG was up to temperature we added the fresh mushrooms to a dry sauté pan and began to toast them until they took on a little colour and then finished them in a little olive oil and set them to oneside for later. We did the same with the dehydrated mushrooms and set those aside but kept them separate. Save the mushroom liquor.
The rest of the vegetables were then added to the sauté pan with some more oil and cooked until they too started to colour but we tried to avoid them softening (unlike in the original recipe). The vegetables were seasoned and transferred to the dutch oven which would be used for most of the rest of the cook. Before dispensing with the sauté pan the lardon were lightly coloured and set to one side and then the venison was browned off and these left in the warm pan whilst we set the BGE to indirect cooking and we switched to the Dutch oven.
We added the tomato puree to the partially cooked vegetables. They were then tumbled so that all vegetables were coated with the puree. This was then left to cook for another 5 minutes or so. Once at temperature the tomato puree undergoes a Maillard reaction (the same as meat does when roasted) adding to the overall intensity of the tastes. The browned venison was then added followed by
Then it was a matter of adding back the venison and the rehydrated mushroom and the red wine. Then once the alcohol had been driven off we added the stock, the reserved mushroom liquor, Tamari and thyme.
By this time the steady temperature of the BGE was at around 140C and so the Bourguignon could be left to cook for the next hour. We could then see how the meat and the vegetables were cooking. It needs to be long enough for the venison to be soft and tender whilst the vegetables still have a good and reasonably firm texture. We left it cooking for another 30 minutes, adjusted the seasoning and added the rest of the mushrooms the had been previously set aside.
By this time the sauce had darkened and thickened but we still finished it by thickening with a very small amount of cornflour (about 1tsp).
The Venison Bourguignon was served on this occasion with a baked potato cooked at the same time in the BGE together with some of our spiced red cabbage and some French beans…………..
………………….. but it works well with rice, mashed potato or couscous too!
Venison and Vegetable Bourguignon
The big tastes you would expect from a Bourguignon - but venison and plant based
- 300-500g cubed Venison shoulder
- 50g lardon
- 4-5 banana shallots - or 12-14 small round shallots
- 4 cloves of garlic
- Olive oil
- 500g of carrots
- 500 g celeriac
- 200g swede
- 250g mushrooms (button or chestnut)
- Any other mushrooms such as shiitake or Oyster
- Large handful of dried mushrooms (ideally with at least some porcini)
- 2 sticks of celery
- 750ml Mushroom or vegetable or beef stock
- 2-3 tbsp tomato puree
- 1/3 bottle red wine (Pinot Noir ideal)
- 1-2 tbsp Tamari
- 4 sprigs of fresh thyme
- Salt & pepper to season
- 1 flat tsp cornflour if necessary
- Step 1 Light the BGE and bring to a temperature of 180C whilst preparing the vegetables
- Step 2 If using banana shallots peel and cut lengthways into quarters. If using round shallots peel and leave whole. Finely chop the garlic. Peel and cut the carrots, celeriac and swede into chunks. Dice the celery.
- Step 3 Take the dried mushrooms just covered with cold water and leave for 5-10 mins and then pour away and recover the mushrooms with fresh water. Rehydrate for around 1-3 hours.
- Step 4 Prepare the button or chestnut mushrooms. If they are small keep them whole. If large, cut into halves or quarters. Prepare any other mushrooms you have in a similar way.
- Step 5 When the Egg is up to temperature heat a sauté pan and dry fry the fresh mushrooms until they take on a little colour. Add some oil and continue to sauté conventionally. Set aside to add to the casserole near the end of the cook. Squeeze the water from the rehydrated dried mushrooms (reserving the water). Add to the sauté pan and cook until they too take on some colour. Set these mushrooms to one side.
- Step 6 Add the rest of the vegetables to the pan with some more oil and cook until they start to colour. Season with salt and pepper. and transfer to the Dutch Oven
- Step 7 In the sauté pan fry the lardon and set to one side and then brown off the venison. Leave in the warm pan and add the platesetter to the BGE and move to indirect cooking. Swap the sauté pan for the Dutch Oven and add the tomato puree. Toss the vegetables until coated in the tomato paste and cook for another 5 minutes or so.
- Step 8 Add the venison and the lardon together with the rehydrated mushroom and the red wine. Then once the alcohol has been driven off add the stock, the reserved mushroom liquor, Tamari and thyme. Test the seasoning, stir and then to leave for at least an hour or more cooking indirectly on the BGE.
- Step 9 Add the fresh sautéed mushrooms around 20 minutes before the end of the cook. Cook for long enough for the venison to be soft and for the vegetables to soften but to still have texture and enough character to bite through when serving. If necessary thicken the sauce with one flat teaspoon of cornflour suspended in a little cold water and continue to cook for 10 mins.