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As we planned the menu for our recent vintage dinner party, my friend Jen said to me, “I’ve got some venison stew meat to use up. Can you make something out of it?”

Of course!

There are only a few vintage recipes for venison stew floating around but I did manage to find this one, which turned out to be really delicious. It includes the addition of red wine to the broth, which is very French and that makes sense, I think, given what I can find out about the author.

The recipe comes from Dressed Game and Poultry a la Mode, published in 1888 by Harriet Ann de Salis. I can’t find any biographical information on de Salis but, the title page of this cookbook lists six previous works by de Salis covering everything from soup to vegetables to 100 ways to cook oysters. The cookbook was published in London, so we can assume de Salis was English. And all her works are “a la mode” so, we can assume her kitchen was heavily influenced by French cuisine.

This recipe made enough soup for 12 people.

• 3 pounds venison stew meat
• 3 tablespoons of butter
• Handful flour
• 2 quarts of homemade stock
• pepper
• salt
• 3 carrots, chopped
• 1 turnip, chopped
• 2 medium potatoes, chopped
• ½ onion, chopped
• 1 7 ounce bottle red cooking wine
• 1 cup of red currant jelly OR whole cranberry sauce


Melt butter over medium-low heat in a large soup pot. Place venison in pot and cook until browned.

Sorry Bambi lovers, I thought the venison meat was beautiful compared to beef. It’s dark red and less fatty… and it’s just plain pretty.

Drain fat. Toss handful of flour into pot and mix venison until pieces are covered in flour.

Venison, browned and tossed in flour

Pour stock into pot. Add salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Take pot off heat and allow scum to surface. Scrape it off and discard.

Place pot back onto heat, medium low to low, and add vegetables, wine and jelly or cranberry sauce.

More pretty colors!

If you don’t have “cooking” wine but you have a bottle of red lying around, open it, pour a tall wine glassful and add it to the broth. Then drink the rest with dinner!

Simmer for at least one hour, stirring frequently. If more scum surfaces, scrape it off and discard.

Finished bowl of hearty goodness!

Serve and enjoy!