Venison, Mushroom, Red Wine Risotto; the truth about rabbit heads

That lovely Venison Roast that I did in the slow cooker resulted in some lovely venison leftovers.

There were also leftover mushrooms and carrots.

A risotto seemed to be the logical solution…. a hearty, red wine risotto.

I tossed in a little fresh spinach at the end. One can never have too many greens.

And it made for a more interesting photo…..

If you don’t have venison (and not everyone does) you could use leftover beef or pork, or uncooked beef, lamb, etc. fried with the Condimenti.

Venison, Mushroom, Red Wine Risotto

Total time: 25 minutes


  • 2/3 cup (4.2oz, 125gr) Arborio rice (or other rice specifically for risotto – Carnaroli or Vialone Nano)
  • 1 cup (8oz, 240ml) hearty red wine
  • 1 3/4 cups (14oz, 420ml) beef stock
  • 8oz (240gr) cooked venison, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, chopped
  • 4oz (120gr) cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 3oz (90gr) fresh spinach, very roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese – freshly grated
  • 2 tbs olive oil



  • Heat beef stock and keep hot over low heat. 
  • In medium sauce pan heat 1 tbs olive oil; add 1/2 of the onion and sauté until transparent.
  • Add rice and sauté, stirring, for 2 – 3 minutes until rice has white center.
  • Add red wine and stir.
  • Start condimenti. 
  • When rice has almost absorbed all the wine add a 1/3 cup of stock, stir. (No need to stir constantly but do stir from time to time.) When stock is almost absorbed add another 1/3 cup and continue adding 1/3 cup at a time and stirring. 
  • Before you add the last 1/3 cup taste a few kernels of rice. They should be just ‘al dente’ – slightly resistant to the tooth but fully cooked. If more stock is needed add it a few tbs at a time and waiting until almost completely absorbed.
  • At this point risotto will be thick but not stiff – there will still be visible liquid and it will not hold it’s shape on a plate. 
  • Add the Parmesan, spinach and condimenti, stir well, spoon into a bowl or risotto platter and serve immediately.  It will continue to absorb liquid and the leftovers (if any) will be quite stiff. 
  • Condimenti:
  • In medium skillet heat remaining 1 tbs olive oil; add remaining 1/2 of onion, carrot and sauté 10 minutes.
  • Add mushrooms and sauté 5 minutes longer
  • Add venison, cover and heat through. Keep warm until needed.

Print Recipe

Those of you who are long-time readers may remember when I made this Braised Rabbit in Red Wine.

Rabbit is a common and popular meat here but I had avoided buying it. One normally bought the entire rabbit and had to cut it up at home. This, naturally, included the head.

Actually, sometimes, one could buy it still in its fur coat. Really more than I wanted to deal with.

On this particular occasion I saw a package of cut-up rabbit.

I bought it.

I was not overly happy to find the head of the rabbit tucked in the bottom of the package.

The other evening we were having dinner with friends and they served rabbit.

It was a fantastic Rabbit with Prunes, actually, and I’m hoping I can persuade him to share the recipe with me.

I digress….

I told them the story of the rabbit head and they said well, of course the head is in the package….. That’s standard.


Well, there are two reasons:

First, to prove that it’s a rabbit and not a cat. (I thought that was a pretty creepy reason……)

Second, to prove that it was a healthy rabbit when it last drew breath. There’s a disease called myxomatosis that affects rabbits. It’s a very infectious, fatal, viral disease. One of the signs is swelling and inflammation around the eyes causing them to go blind. If you can look at the head you can tell if it had myxomatosis.

Now I know that there are valid reason to sneak the rabbit head into my package of cut-up rabbit.

To be honest, I think I could live with a stamp that said ‘Certified healthy rabbit’ or ‘This is not a cat’ or some such.

I’m trusting,,,,, I don’t need the head as proof.

Last update on March 23, 2016

3 thoughts on “Venison, Mushroom, Red Wine Risotto; the truth about rabbit heads”

  1. I’m sorry, I’ll try the recipe you posted because it looks great, but I refuse to eat rabbit. Nope. Can’t do it. Not me. Nuh uh. *shudders* Beside the fact that for me, there are just some things I find inedible for a variety of reasons, my younger daughter also has a Giant Flemish as a pet. Not a chance will I eat one.

  2. nightsmusic, they have beautiful rabbits – for pets, in all the garden stores here. They look so soft, but I don’t think one would fit into our household lol.

    Brassfrog, classic bistro fare – I love going to those places in the fall when they all have game (rabbit, hare, venison, boar) on the menus..

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