Venison Stew in Beer, squirrels and dogs and toads, oh my

When we first left the US and moved to Ireland we fell in love with British television.

Well, to be honest, not all of it, but some of it was so off the wall / bizarre (at least to our American sensibilities) we were hooked.

Father Ted was the most politically incorrect comedy I have ever seen…. And so funny I actually fell off my chair laughing the first time I saw it.

Before we left the US we watched the Frugal Gourmet or Nathalie Dupree. In Ireland we watched The Two Fat Ladies.

Lately we’ve been watching The Hairy Bikers.

Yes, there are hairy bikers doing a cooking show… And this recipe is based on one I watched them cook

I don’t often cook with beer. I usually use wine, but beer seemed a good choice with venison.

Venison Stew in Beer

Total time: 2 hours, 20 minutes


  • 18oz (540gr) venison, cut into pieces for stew
  • 3 carrots, cut into large pieces
  • 2 ribs celery, cut into large pieces
  • 1 large onion, cut into wedges
  • 16oz (480ml) beer, dark preferably
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp butter
  • 3 tbs flour
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tbs crushed sage
  • 3 bay leaves
  • salt and pepper

Venison, Beer Stew


  • Heat butter and oil in a heavy pot or Dutch oven with tight-fitting lid.
  • Add onion, celery, carrots and fry for about 5 minutes.
  • Add dry mustard, paprika, flour, stir and cook briefly, about 1 minute.
  • Add half of the beer and stir as it thickens.
  • Add the rest of the beer and stir well..
  • Add the venison, herbs and stir to combine
  • Cover and bake, 350F (175C) for 2 hours
  • Remove, add salt and pepper to taste
  • Serve.

Print Recipe

I thought it was rather strange that the vegetables were fried for a bit but the meat wasn’t browned, but I did it the way they did it.

Worked a treat as they say in the UK.

Who am I to argue with a couple of big guys on equally big motorcycles?

New subject: Today was weird, oddly reminiscent of the Twilight Zone (cue the music….)

First, I saw a squirrel.

Yes, I know that to most of you reading this that wouldn’t even be worth noting, but I have never seen a squirrel here before.

Nor anywhere else in France.

It was a brown squirrel, which made it even stranger. In the US we had gray squirrels and red squirrels. This one was chocolate brown.

It was running across the road, of course, so it was obviously no more intelligent than typical.

About 10 years ago I saw a black squirrel in Spain. That makes 2 squirrels since we left the US.

Second, I saw a really big toad.

No, toads are not unusual here. We have a lot of crapaud and the dogs regularly chase them all around the front lawn on warm summer evenings.

But we rarely see them during the day and never see then out in the middle of the field in winter. They’re usually close to something they can hide in or under.

The dogs found it but weren’t in the least interested….. Probably because it didn’t move. Critters aren’t any fun at all if they can’t be chased.

I went to have a closer look at what they were sniffing. They wandered off and I kept looking, trying to see what had been so interesting.

There was nothing; just clumps of clay and brown weeds.

Then one of the clumps of clay blinked.

It was a really big toad, easily the biggest toad I’ve ever seen. I would have had to use both hands to pick it up…. Had I any desire in the world to pick it up.

It was laying in a hole just big enough for it. I’m guessing one of the magpies that are poking around everywhere had plucked the moss off of its winter den.

So tomorrow we get to check to see if the toad moved on to new digs or if we have a dead, half eaten toad to contend with.

Life in the country….

3 thoughts on “Venison Stew in Beer, squirrels and dogs and toads, oh my”

  1. Poor toad! I hope it’s moved on by now.

    We’ve seen one squirrel since moving to our new place. Then again, we have no trees (which will be rectified this spring!) so I’m not surprised there. We also have a pair of hawks nesting in a tree at the back of the property. That of course discourages most small wildlife in the area to set up housekeeping. Except the rabbits. We have lots of those. They must be smart enough to avoid the hawks.

    Venison cooked this way, slow with a marinating beer sauce is wonderful. I haven’t quite tried this version, but I’m going to now. Our son-in-law is a hunter and though I don’t want to ever hear the details, I do occasionally enjoy a bit of the spoils…

  2. kate, we have a farmer’s pond very close to us so we hear frogs in the summer, but the toads live in the dirt and garden. And the dogs love to chase them…. can’t figure out why they quit jumping after a paw splat on the head.

    nightsmusic, I couldn’t see it the next day so it either moved or went back underground or something else (eww) We have a lot of raptors around…. maybe that’s why. And they don’t take the rabbits LOL

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