Potato Gnocchi with Venison Stew

6 servings
  • 1/2 cup dried Porcini mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 1/4 cup minced Pancetta or bacon (1 ounce)
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 1/3 pounds boneless venison from the leg or shoulder, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 1 fresh rosemary sprig or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3 1/2 cups chicken stock or canned broth
  • Potato Gnocchi
  • Soak the Porcini in 2 cups of hot water until softened, about 30 minutes. Drain the mushrooms, reserving the liquid. Rinse and chop the mushrooms, discarding any tough bits. Strain the liquid through a sieve lined with cheesecloth and reserve.

  • Meanwhile, in a large nonreactive casserole, heat the oil over moderately high heat. Add the onion and Pancetta saute until golden, about 6 minutes. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Increase the heat to high, add the venison and cook until all the meat juices have evaporated, about 15 minutes.Add the chopped Porcini to the casserole, along with the wine, bay leaves, cloves and rosemary. Cook, stirring for 5 minutes, until the wine is nearly evaporated.

  • Stir in the tomato paste and season lightly with salt and pepper. Add the stock and the reserved mushroom liquid and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to moderately low and simmer, partially covered, until the meat is tender, about 1 1/2 hours. Remove the bay leaves and rosemary sprig. (The venison stew can be made up to 2 days ahead and refrigerated, covered.)

  • In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the Potato Gnocchi in 3 or 4 batches until they rise to the surface, 2 to 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the gnocchi to a warm platter and cover with foil. Toss the gnocchi with the hot venison sauce and serve immediately.

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