La Vie Dansante Wines

Venison Bourguignon – Syrah

Photo of Venison Bourguignon

Fall and winter bring a change to heartier, more rustic fare and the bigger wines that complement them.  In Provincial cooking that means getting closer to the land with stews made of root vegetables and wild game.  Try this venison stew paired with our Syrah.

The word Bourguignon (pronounced “bore-green-YONE”) refers to a recipe that is prepared in the style of the French region of Bourgogne, known as Burgundy in English.
As such, a recipe prepared à la Bourguignon will likely feature meat or poultry which is braised in Pinot noir wine along with mushrooms, onions, and bacon. In this recipe we’re borrowing the concept and sending it down river the the Rhone Valley where we’ll use a heavier, gamier meat – venison – instead of beef to pair with the bolder, heavier wine – Syrah.


  • 3 cups La Vie Dansante 2014 Syrah
  • 2 cups strong beef stock
  • 1/4 cup Cognac, or good quality Brandy
  • 1 large yellow onion cut into large pieces
  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut into 2″ pieces
  • 3 cloves of garlic, crushed and chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons thyme (half if dried)
  • 2 teaspoons rosemary (half if dried)
  • 10 black peppercorns
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 1 allspice berry
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 3 pounds venison chuck (shoulder cuts), cubed
  • 1/2 pound bacon, coarsely chopped
  • 5 tablespoons softened butter
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound pearl onions, peeled
  • 1 pound white mushrooms, trimmed
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

PREPARING THE VENISON: In a large non-reactive container gently toss together the red wine, beef stock, Cognac, yellow onion, carrots, garlic, parsley, thyme, rosemary, peppercorns, cloves, allspice, bay leaf, and venison cubes. Refrigerate and allow the mixture to marinate overnight or for at least 8 hours.

BRAISING THE VENISON: Preheat an oven to 300F. Remove the venison from the marinade and drain on a clean kitchen towel. Using a slotted spoon transfer the vegetables to a bowl and reserve the marinade liquid.

In a large Dutch oven, over medium to high heat, melt two tablespoons of butter. Fry the bacon in the butter until it’s crisp. Keeping the fat in the Dutch oven, transfer the cooked bacon to a plate. Add the drained venison to the bacon fat and cook over high heat, turning often, until the venison is browned. Transfer the venison to a paper towel-lined plate. Add the vegetables from the marinade to the fat and sauté over medium to high heat, stirring often, for about 5-7 minutes. Drain any remaining fat. Stir in the tomato paste and allow it to cook for about 30 seconds. Gradually add the reserved marinade liquid, stirring continuously, to form a smooth sauce.

Return the venison and bacon to the Dutch oven and stir a to combine the ingredients. Cover with a lid and braise in the preheated oven for 3 hour, until the venison is very tender.

Using a slotted spoon, transfer the venison to a clean bowl. Strain and skim the fat from the sauce and pour the clarified sauce back into the Dutch oven along with the venison.

FOR THE VEGETABLES: In a large skillet over medium to high heat, sauté the pearl onions in 2 tablespoon of butter for about 10 minutes until they turn tender. Continue cooking them until most of the cooking liquid evaporates. Add the mushrooms, salt, and pepper to the pan and sauté them along with the onions for 5 minutes.

THE BEURRE MANIE: Knead together the reserved tablespoon of softened butter and 1 tablespoon of all-purpose flour to make a Beurre Manie. Stir the Beurre Manie into the simmering onion and mushroom mixture and cook it for 1 minute, until it thickens slightly.

TO SERVE: Add the thickened vegetable mixture to the Dutch oven and bring the stew to a simmer for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat, garnish with fresh thyme, and serve hot. Serves 4 to 6 hearty appetites.