Saturday, January 30, 2010

Ragu of Venison and Pappardelle

Bill's brother, Tom, shot a deer before Christmas and was very nice to share with us different cuts. What to make of them? That's the challenge. I made chili with the grounds one night, and that was delicious. We have a couple of rounds in the reefer, which I will make into stew one of these days. The more challenging cut - the shoulder - I decided to cook this weekend.
I woke up craving Ecco's Chili-braised Pork with Garlic and Pappardelle, so I decided to make my version of it using the venison shoulder.

Ragu of Venison and Pappardelle

2 lbs venison shoulder**

3 T Olive Oil
4 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 small Spanish Onions, diced
3 pcs carrots, diced
3 stalks of celery, diced

5 T Tomato Paste28 oz can San Marzano crushed tomatoes

1 cup Cabernet Sauvignon
bouquet garni- rosemary, thyme & bay leaves
2 pcs dried chipotle, seeded
4 pcs star anise, enclose in a cheesecloth
1 t mixed peppercorns, ground
sea salt
1 cup ripe black olives

1 cup cremini mushrooms, quartered
1 package pappardelle, cooked al dente
parmigiano-reggiano for tossing and serving
chopped flat leaf parsley for garnish

**If you do not have venison conveniently sitting in your freezer, use pork shoulders or lamb in place of it.

Heat oven to 300 F.

Heat oil in a dutch oven, brown all sides of the venison, then set aside. In the same pan, saute garlic until fragrant, then add the onion, saute until soft. Saute the carrots and celery next, then add the tomato paste, crushed tomatoes and wine. Return venison in the pan, bring to boil, add the herbs and spices, then salt to taste. Put in the oven and braise for about an hour and a half.

Remove from oven. Transfer half of the sauce in the blender, making sure you fish out all the chipotle pieces. Puree until smooth, then return in the pan. (I like my sauce just a bit chunky, thus I puree only half. Besides, as much as I love the heat that the chipotle render in this dish, I do not want whole chipotle pieces in my sauce).

Remove the bouquet garni and star anise, then add the olives and mushrooms. Return in the oven and cook for another half an hour to an hour until the meat is 'falling off the bone' tender. Remove from the oven and shred the meat using two forks (throw away the bone).

Toss some of the sauce, cooked pappardelle and shaved parmigiano-reggiano in a pan in very low heat for a minute to coat the pappardelle with the sauce. Serve with more shaved parmigiano-reggiano and garnish with flat leaf parsley.


  1. This looks fantastic! I love venison!

  2. I'll make some when you visit me in Atlanta!