Venison Bourguignon

~ In the Classical French Style!

I just love cooking. Creating something with my hands, and the ingredients sifting through my fingers. I wanted to create something more classic than the modern fair that has been serving me and my family so well from Pinterest. Not that there is anything wrong with those recipes. I love those recipes, but I wanted a real challenge!

While at the grocery store and not having my list, I was in the soup aisle and grabbed some beef stock. On the back was a recipe for Beef Bourguignon. Since we have an entire deer I thought I would easily translate this over to a French Classic version of Venison Bourguignon. How hard could it be? So in the cart it went!

After watching several videos last Thursday night 1/1 I settled on a mashup of some professional chef I found on You Tube, and Julia Child. As a young girl Julia Child’s voice drove me nuts and I couldn’t stand her, but now as an aspiring home chef I absolutely adore her! She has so many great tips that you just don’t find in the cooking shows of today, and lets be honest… the girl is hilarious! I could easily see her and I being BFFs! (I know she has since passed) I literally stayed up until 1:00 a.m. watching her videos! She is my hero.

I started the process around 1:30 p.m. or so trimming a 1.5# venison roast. There wasn’t much to trim besides a bit of the tallow, so I then cut it into large chunks (slightly bigger than bite size) and gathered my ingredients and supplies.

10in Dutch Oven
Cast Iron Skillet
Large Batter Bowl from Pampered Chef
non-stick LARGE skillet

Firstly I sprinkled in a bit of pepper on the bottom of the Batter Bowl and then put the venison chunks. Next I grabbed my garlic slicer (also from Pampered Chef) and rough chopped 3-4 garlic cloves, and then thinly sliced the garlic over the venison. Lastly I poured enough wine over the venison to just barely cover it, and set it aside.

Set my oven to 425 degrees and put the 10in Dutch Oven inside to preheat both.

Next I started out cutting 4 pieces of bacon into small strips, and then putting them into the large skillet over medium heat to render the fat out of the bacon. After it was nice and toasty I used a slotted spoon (actually the nylon deep fry spatula works best) to set the bacon aside.

I also started cooking half a dozen boiling onions peeled with some olive oil in a small sauce pan. Normally you would finely chop these, but since my husband hates onions I settled for keeping them whole.


While the bacon was cooking I peeled and largely chopped 4 carrots, and peeled about 5 more small (boiling size) onions. You could use a shallot too, but you wouldn’t want your onions any bigger than the shallot size. You can maybe quarter or half these onions, but keep them rather large.

My venison was ready to cook. I browned each side for approximately 3-4 minutes per side without crowding the skillet too much, and then set aside leaving all of that glorious bacon fat in the hot skillet.

I immediately put my carrots and onions in the skillet with the bacon fat and had on medium heat. I also added maybe 2-3 cups of beef broth.

Once my venison was cooled enough to handle I dredged in flour. Don’t make it so that its completely caked with flour – just enough to be sticky and gooey.I then opened the oven, poured in a bit of Olive Oil in the dutch oven, and then placed my venison in there and set the timer for 7 minutes.

Now that my onions in the small saucepan were starting to turn golden brown I added in about a 1/4 of tomato paste until cooked down. After that I poured my wine marinade into the sauce pan, added the bacon in and turned down to the lowest simmer. Once that came to a full summer I added in a teaspoon of thyme, let it just simmer.

Now go back into the oven and stir the venison, and let braise another five minutes.

After the five minutes is up, add the entire contents of the small saucepan mixture into the dutch oven, add the lid, and VERY IMPORTANTLY lower the oven temperature to 320 F.

Now I got to just sit back and wait for about three hours while the venison, and the wine, onion, tomato purée mixture cooked for about three hours! Enjoy a glass of wine and pick up the kitchen while you wait, or scout Pinterest for more fun recipes!


At the tail end of the braising I put my daughter to work by having her clean the mushrooms! She thought this was super cool, and felt super important!

I then grabbed my cast iron skillet to start on the mushrooms. Keep them whole. First I melted 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Once that was heated through, I added the mushrooms and gave it a good stir. Next one of my recipes said to put a quarter cup of cognac over the top and light on fire! I did not have any cognac so I tried Jamison whiskey but that did not have high enough of an alcohol content to start on fire, so instead we have whiskey mushrooms! (If you do try the cognac step back from the skillet or you may burn your eyebrows off and that wouldn’t be good at all!)

Once the mushrooms were complete and the three hours of braising was done I added mushrooms carrots and the onions that were previously cooked all into the Dutch oven and roasted for another 20 minutes!

While that was going on I started a pot of egg noodles to serve everything over and FINALLY it was time to eat at 6:30 p.m.!

I dished everyone up a plate and took my first glorious bite alongside a delicious sip of Marechal Foch from St. Croix Vineyard!


I would definitely make this again and definitely on a weekend because it just takes too long to make on a week night.

My Hero!




This list is what I used in my Venison Bourguignon.

 Bon Appétit!

Happy Birthday

Happy birthday Dad!

For as long as I can remember you were the first person I would call on our birthday. We would both wish each other a happy birthday and often sang the traditional birthday tune in an off key rendition that only we [and our family] could appreciate. So happy 66th birthday! The age that you could officially retire (even though you had been for years now) you went off to the ultimate retirement home! Please give Jesus a hug for me.

I think about you often Dad. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about you, but those moments in the day when I don’t something still feels amiss or off. Its like something is missing, and I have the physical feeling that I did something terribly wrong. You know when you feel guilty and your insides feel tight, and there is that quiet pressure near your sternum waiting to bubble up. Though I didn’t do anything wrong, something did go terribly wrong. That’s what grief physically feels like. You would know having lost your mother when you were 11 and your dad in your 40s.

I am so blessed to have so many amazing memories to hold on to. Like little birthday presents I unwrap these memories and remember. Sometimes its remembering a look you gave me, they way you danced, an experience that we shared, or a quiet embrace. You were such a gentle soul.

Mom, Missy, and I (and later some others) are off to tour the local Vineyards today!  The idea of having dinner at home and only singing happy birthday once was too raw – but because of my love of wine, and yours too – we will be going ’round to the wineries and raising a glass today and lighting your candle along the way. (Check out the photos on Instagram by searching #vineyardbday, and #partingGlass)

Our family holds deep Irish traditions, so I raise a glass high to you dad! You were the best. Your entire life from what I could see was built on making others feel loved and welcome. Truly you were a man after Gods heart, and an imitator of Christ. I miss you every single day dad. Oh how I wish you were not handed the parting glass! I wish I could take it back and have another year with you, another moment, another breath. But come fell to you – the parting glass. You’re never forgotten, and always treasured so deep in my heart.
I raise my glass to you with this song. An old Irish hymn that cries out from the grave.

Happy Birthday Dad. Today I spread my wings and fly out of the nest – all on my own. Thirty-Four years and I am soaring Dad. I can’t wait to see you again. May it be just a breath between now and then when we sing in merriment again!

Death is nothing at all.
It does not count.
I have only slipped away into the next room.
Everything remains as it was.
The old life that we lived so fondly together is untouched, unchanged.
Whatever we were to each other, that we are still.
Call me by the old familiar name.
Speak of me in the easy way which you always used.
Put no sorrow in your tone.
Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes that we enjoyed together.
Play, smile, think of me, pray for me.
Let my name be ever the household word that it always was.
Let it be spoken without effort
Life means all that it ever meant. It is the same as it ever was.
There is unbroken continuity.
Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight?
I am but waiting for you, for an interval, somewhere very near, just around the corner.
All is well. Nothing is hurt; nothing is lost.
One brief moment and all will be as it was before.
How we shall laugh at the trouble of parting, when we meet again.

Minnesota – Week 22

This is a chicken farm…. and we’re the chickens!



I am so excited about this post! After weeks months of planning we finally have our chicken operation up and running! We finally got our chickens in. After pouring over several articles from Pinterest, and other websites we chose the Isa Browns/Red Stars which are very friendly/docile mega egg layers, and are supposed to do very well over the winter months continuing to lay the eggs. Now I realize that our family of seven just went to a family of 12, but our chicks whom we’ve named Beatrice, Anita, Ginger, Natalie and Babs will give us something nobody else is… FOOD! These will JUST be for eggs, and companionship of course. Our meat chicks are being raised by our friends who have more acreage.

Beatrice, Anita, Ginger Natalie and Babs arrived to the Elk River post office just this morning and our friend Phil was kind enough to pick them up. We drove over to their house tonight to get them and bring them home. They went peep peep peep the whole way home!

photo (18)

Beatrice, Anita, Ginger Natalie and Babs – Day old Pullets

Currently they’re all huddled around the lamp taking a nap. They’ve had a very long day of hatching and travel from Iowa at Hoover’s Hatchery.

(I just went and checked on them, and they’ve woken up! They’re currently chasing the little mosquitos that have gotten in the brooder and are happily feasting on little bugs and their food of course!)

To start with we just got our basic brooding supplies as they will live in the brooder for the first several weeks anyways.

Supplies we needed:
Like I said, to start off with – we just needed the very basics, so we got the following:

* Brooder Box
* Heat Lamp – I had a 60w bulb, but it didn’t feel very warm so I switched to a 100w.
I will check it before I go to bed and in the morning.
* Water Container
* Food Container
* Large pine shavings
* Thermometer (I still have yet to get – apparently 100 degrees is the magic number)
* Feed

Eventually they will have to move into the coop, but we’re undecided about building one from scratch or getting the 1/2 built ones from Fleet Farm. We’ll probably build our own, and I really want Jason to build this one, although I really like this style too!!!! Eh- we’ve got time.

Farmers Market

Pam, Maggie & I all headed down to the Minneapolis Farmers Market last weekend to get our plants. I got Cilantro, Basil, Celery, Rosemary, Lemon Verbena, Asparagus, Jalapanos, Habeneros, and a tomato plant. I have already harvested some of the basil and it tastes divine!

Yard Work

We’ve (and by we’ve I really mean Jason) have been hitting it hard in the backyard! Jason built a pavers ring around our firepit in the back, and has been working on some retaining walls. Soon he will bring home a dump truck of wood chips to fill in the blanks! Once semi complete I will take some pictures.

New favorite wines

I have had a love – hate – love relationship with Pinot Noir. As many red wine drinkers can attest this “gateway to reds” wine is a favorite among many novice drinkers. After trying much heavier, bolder, drier wine I began to HATE pinot Noir, but recently I have had a few amazing ones!
> Erath
> redtree (thanks to my dear friend who got this for me… yes it is VERY drinkable)

My favorite wine to date has got to be Summers Charbono! It is absolutely spectacular and VERY much worth the $25 price tag. I also very much love the Reserve Bonpas Chateauneuf du Pape, but at $40 a bottle, its a “treat”. Currently however Bota Box is on sale at the liquor store for $14.99 so this girl has been drinking plenty of that! By the end of summer I really want to try Chateau Montelena’s famous Chardonnay!