By Justin Melnick, Executive Chef
Tomasso Trattoria & Enoteca
Makes 4 to 6 servings
2 pounds cippoline onions, cleaned and cut in half
2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded and diced
3 pounds venison stew meat (1-inch cubes)
Salt and pepper
1 can peeled Italian tomatoes
4 cups chicken stock
4 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 bunch celery, cleaned and chopped
4 Spanish onions, cleaned and chopped
2 bottles Buzzards Bay Black Lager
1 large piece cheese cloth
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Carefully place the cippolini onions in boiling water, cook for 1 minute and transfer to a sheet pan to cool.
2. Place the butternut squash in a single layer on another sheet pan. Roast at 400 degrees for 40 minutes or until tender. Set aside for later use.
3. Layer the venison meat on a sheet pan, season with salt and pepper.
4. Heat a large, heavy-bottomed pan with enough olive oil to cover the bottom. (Choose a pan with a lid that is large enough to hold all the ingredients for braising). Once the pan is almost at the smoking point reduce to medium/high heat. Carefully place a single layer of the meat in the pan and sear for approximately 3 minutes on one side. (Do not stir the meat; allow it to sear.) Once you have a nice sear, remove the meat from the pan. Depending on the size of the pan, you may need to sear in batches. Repeat as many times as necessary until all meat is seared and set aside.
5. Add the carrots, celery and onions to the pan and sauté on low/medium heat until translucent and tender. Add more olive oil if necessary. Try not to get too much color on the vegetables. Remove the vegetables from the pan and place in cheesecloth. Tie off the cheesecloth with butcher’s twine to prevent the vegetables from falling out. Return the cheesecloth pouch to the pan, deglaze with the beer and stir to release the fond. Reduce the beer down by half and add the tomatoes and the venison.
6. Once the tomatoes are warm, add the chicken stock to the pan. The stock should cover the meat completely. Cover the pan and braise on a low heat until tender (3 to 4 hours) adding stock whenever necessary.
7. Once the meat is tender, remove the cheesecloth pouch and discard. Add the cippolini onions and butternut squash to the stew. Once they are heated, serve.