Venison, Chocolate, and Cherry Stew

OK, so at my last 2 dinner parties I served stew; Indian-inspired goat before; this one is a classic deer, dark chocolate, red wine, and cherry concoction that made everyone happy. Stew really doesn’t photograph well, though, does it? šŸ˜¦

I served a cherry, white chocolate, and coconut no-bake cheesecake for dessert, which was sympathetic in flavours to the main dish.

Serves: 4


  • 50g butter
  • 4 slim leeks (trimmed of dark green end), sliced thickly
  • 1 celery heart (the bottom half of a whole celery), sliced thickly
  • 2 red chillies, seeds ‘n pith ‘n all, chopped
  • 2 large and thick carrots, sliced lengthwise then chopped into thick-ish half-moons
  • 500g venison stewing meat (shoulder or leg), chopped into large chunks 2″ or more each
  • 500ml stock (I always use chicken stock, but if you have beef, all the better)
  • 500ml water
  • A dash of balsamic vinegar
  • A good glug of good red wine (at least 1 small wine glass)
  • 2 large bay leaves
  • 20g shredded dark chocolate (min. 70% cocoa)
  • 10 fresh cherries, de-stoned and chopped finely


  • One large, heavy stockpot (10″ / 26cm width, and 4&1/2″ / 12cm deep or so), with lid


  1. Heat the butter in the pot on a high heat until frothing. Add the chopped leeks, celery, chillies, and carrots, and stir for up to 5 minutes until well hot.
  2. Add the venison and stir until the meat is sealed on all sides.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients, and let it come up to the boil. Turn down the heat (ideally, move the pot to the smallest ring on the lowest setting), put on the lid, and leave to simmer for 2 hours. Give it a good stir round every 20 minutes or so. After 90 minutes, take off the lid and leave to bubble and reduce.
  4. Due to the chocolate content, please don’t give this stew to your dogs (not that there’ll be any left for them).

I grabbed something on sale, so I’m not providing marketing for them due to intensive study blah blah. But the label said “Aromas: black cherry”, and “Flavours: vanilla & chocolate” so I thought it would do nicely in this stew. YellowTail’s ‘Jammy Red Roo’ Australian wine turned out to be utterly ace in this recipe, and was the perfect drinking partner to this stew.


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