SWE-Dishes: SwedishFood.com’s Game Stew     

Photo: John Duxbury

Food & Drink

SWE-Dishes: SwedishFood.com’s Game Stew     

As the weather gets chillier, there’s nothing better than curling up by the fire with a good book and a big bowl of stew. John Duxbury of SwedishFood.com knows that feeling well, and passed along his version of Game Stew (Viltgryta).

His recipe is adapted with very few alterations from Margareta Schildt Landgren’s book “Notes from a Swedish Kitchen” and uses venison, mushrooms and carrots. The stew is finished with a generous portion of cream, but it’s addition cuts the gaminess of the venison and balances everything out perfectly.

When making this dish, Swedes normally would use fresh wild mushrooms, and although the start of the venison season coincides with the arrival of yellowfoot chanterelles (also known as funnel chanterelles or winter mushrooms), they still can be tough to find. If you’re having trouble, use dried mushrooms or substitute any wild mushroom.

Tips

  • If you can use fresh mushrooms, fry them with the onions in Step 3 and add fresh water to the pan in Step 4.
  • If you are using dried mushrooms and they are not very clean, discard the liquid in Step 4 and add fresh water to the pan instead (even dried mushrooms are occasionally gritty).

Ingredients

  • 1 oz. dried wild mushrooms, ideally yellowfoot chanterelles
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1¼ lb. game, such as venison, diced
  • 8 small shallots, peeled and halved
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 juniper berries, crushed
  • 2 tbsp. gin
  • ½ cup cream
  • 8 oz. carrots, peeled and sliced

Instructions

  1. Place the dried mushrooms in a jug and pour about 240 ml (1 cup) hot water over them and leave them to soak for 20 minutes or so.
  2. Melt the butter in a large casserole over a medium heat. Add half the meat and cook until nicely browned. Remove from the pan and set aside. Repeat with the rest of the meat.
  3. Add the onions and fry until just beginning to brown. Season to taste and add the juniper berries.
  4. Return the meat to the pan and add the mushrooms and their liquid.
  5. Add the gin and cream. Cover and simmer on a gentle heat until the meat is tender. The exact time will depend of the type and cut of meat, but this should take between 30 and 60 minutes.
  6. Add the carrots to the stew for the last 5 minutes of cooking.
  7. Serve with boiled rice, lightly steamed Romanesco, apple or rosehip jelly and a nice glass of red wine.

John Duxbury enjoys cooking Swedish food and went to the trouble of learning Swedish so he could read Swedish cookbooks. The love affair with Swedish food started as a result of numerous visits to Sweden when he was working with Swedish students. When he retired from teaching he decided to set up http://www.swedishfood.com so other people with an interest in Swedish cooking could benefit from his work.

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