Pumpkin and Venison Dutch Oven Stew

This recipe is perfect for the tougher cuts of venison that are best cooked “low and slow.” That means, using liquid, time and low temperature to transform otherwise chewy meat into tender morsels. If pumpkin is not readily available, substitute butternut or acorn squash. Makes 6-8 servings.

Pumpkin and Venison Dutch Oven Stew


  • 6 cups venison cut into 1-inch chunks
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 strips bacon
  • 1 large yellow onion diced
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 6 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 1/2 cup beef or game stock
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups carrots peeled and diced
  • 3 ribs celery diced
  • 1 15- ounce can diced tomato with juice
  • 2 cups pumpkin peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
  • 1/4 cup sour cream


  • Season venison liberally with Kosher salt and pepper. In a large Dutch oven or heavy-duty pot, cook bacon over medium heat until crispy. Reserve bacon and leave bacon grease in the Dutch oven. Add venison and brown evenly. Once browned, use a slotted spoon to remove venison from the pot and hold in a bowl or plate.
  • Add onion to the pot and cook until lightly browned, about 4 – 5 minutes. Return venison to the pot, add rosemary, garlic, red wine, stock and balsamic vinegar. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 2 hours or until meat is tender.
  • Add remaining ingredients except sour cream, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until pumpkin is tender, about 15 minutes. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper.
  • Crumble reserved bacon. To serve, ladle into bowls and top with sour cream and bacon crumbles.