| Prep Time: 20 mins
| Cook Time: 120 mins
| Total Time: 2 hours 20 mins
You may need: Dried Garlic Powder
With winter upon us in the Northern Hemisphere, we turn our attention to seasonal comfort food. This recipe for a very traditional Scandinavian-style wild game and juniper berry stew is a perfect winter meal. If you can't find game like boar or venison in your local specialty market (or don't eat game or even meat), fear not! This recipe is easy to customize to your taste. Juniper Berries add an authentic Scandinavian touch. We're sending you high-quality Italian Juniper Berries, which have sweeter flavor to balance the sharp, piney flavor notes characteristic to juniper.
These "berries" are actually the seed cones of the juniper evergreen shrub and are the only spice to come from conifers! With a deep purple-black color and a highly aromatic flavor with notes of citrus and wood, juniper berries have been used in traditional European cuisine to flavor wild bird and game dishes, sauerkrauts, and meats for millennia. Serve dished over a mashed vegetable such as potatoes, carrots and parsnips, celery root, sweet potatoes, and/or with crusty bread.
1.5 lbs venison, wild boar, elk, lamb or beef, cut into cubes
2 tbsp neutral high heat cooking oil (grapeseed, canola, avocado, or ghee)
1 large onion, thinly sliced
3 carrots, sliced into 2" diagonals
3 celery stalks, medium dice
8 oz Cremini mushrooms, halved
2 tsp Juniper Berries, crush in mortar/pestle or with a spoon
6 pitted prunes (or another dried fruit like dates or apricots)
1/4 tsp ground cloves (optional)
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced or minced
1 rosemary sprig, leaves removed and minced (optional)
1 cup dry red wine
2 cups beef stock
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
1.5 tsp. Kosher salt (optional) divided, and black pepper
fresh herbs (dill, thyme) chopped (optional)
This recipe for Wild Game and Juniper Berry Stew is easy to make. But planning ahead will make the prep and cooking easier.
Use a large dutch oven or oven-safe pan if possible. If you don't have an oven safe pan, you can use a stovetop method. Except for preheating oven, follow this recipe up to step 4. Then cover and simmer on the stovetop for 1.5 -2 hours on Low.
You can also use a slow cooker to make this recipe. For the best flavor, brown the meat as called for in this recipe. But you can just add everything to the slow cooker and heat on Low for 8-10 hours, Med for 6-8 hours, or high for 4-6 hours.
Optional ingredients add a little character and flavor but don't sweat it if you don't have them.
Trim meat and season with 1 tsp kosher salt + freshly ground black pepper. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a dutch oven (or a large heavy-bottomed, oven-safe pan) over Med-High heat.
When oil is shimmering, carefully add the meat in a single layer (work in batches if necessary) and brown one side for 3-4 mins. Then, carefully flip with tongs and continue to brown all sides of meat cubes. Remove from pot (repeat with any remaining meat and set aside in a bowl.
Add onions, carrot, and celery to the pot without draining oil and brown bits. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 8 mins. Add 1/2 tsp salt, cremini mushrooms, and rosemary and sauté another 5 mins. Add cloves, juniper berries, prunes, garlic, and freshly-ground black pepper and sauté, stirring for 2 mins until fragrant. Add red wine, beef stock and meat to pot and bring to a simmer.
Cover the dutch oven (or pan) with a lid. Transfer the stew to the oven, and cook for 1.5 hours to a max of 2 hours. Remove from oven, top with the chopped parsley. Garnish with chopped fresh herbs like dill and thyme. Serve over mashed vegetables (potatoes, parsnips, etc) or with hot crusty bread.
While this recipe for Wild Game with Juniper Berry stew is a hit with our house and staff, you might not feel up to make a stew. Here are some alternative ideas.
Substitute just about any meat for the wild game: beef, lamb, duck, turkey, and chicken.
For our Vegetarian / Vegan friends, sub in chopped cubes of portobello mushrooms for the meat. Or use your favorite vegan "meatless meat", tofu, or a mix of roasted veggies like eggplant and sweet potatoes.
Juniper berries add a unique flavor to both savory and sweet dishes alike. Try making this delicious looking Juniper Berry spiced Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies recipe.
Check out this recipe for fantastic-sounding Juniper Orange Slow Cooker Chicken! We're definitely going to try this one soon... you don't need the specialty jam - simply use a mortar/pestle (or back of your knife) to mash 1-2 tsp whole Juniper Berries then combine with 8oz of Orange marmelade / jam called for in the recipe.
Be sure to leave comments and feedback on your meals and experiments in the comments for others to read.
Post pictures of your masterpiece meal on social media and tag us. We repost!