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Venison Stew

4 lb venison,cut in 2" chunks
1 carrot,sliced
1 sm onion,quartered
1/2 stalk celery,sliced
1/4 t thyme,Dried or 3/4 teaspoon. fresh thyme
Salt (or black pepper)
1/8 t cayenne pepper
4 c California Petite Syrah or full-bodied red wine
1 1/2 t wine vinegar
2 1/2 T corn oil,or more if needed
2 T white flour
1 c water
Caramelized Pears (optional)

1. Two to 4 days ahead, in a mixing bowl just large enough to hold meat and vegetables, toss venison, carrot, onion, and celery together. Add thyme, salt, cayenne, wine, and vinegar. Cover and marinate in a cool place (50 to 55F) or in warmest part of refrigerator for 2 to 4 days, turning meat and vegetables every day.
2. Drain meat and vegetables in a colander for about 30 minutes, reserving marinade. Sort out vegetables from meat and set vegetables aside. Dry meat on towels.
3. In a large, heavy frying pan, heat a thin coat of corn oil over medium heat. Add meat in several batches, being careful not to overcrowd, and saut until brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer meat to a stew pot.
4. In the same frying pan, saut vegetables for about 5 minutes. Add more corn oil if necessary. Add sauted vegetables to meat and season with salt and pepper.
5. Heat oven to 300F.
6. For the brown roux, add flour to fat in frying pan. Add more corn oil if necessary to make 2 tablespoons. Stir with a wooden spoon and cook until roux is nut brown, 3 to 5 minutes.
7. Strain reserved marinade over roux and quickly whisk it together. Add water and bring to a boil. Strain liquid into the pot with the meat. 8. Cover pot tightly and bake on middle shelf of oven for 3 1/2 hours,
until meat is very tender.
9. Transfer meat and vegetables with a slotted spoon to a heated serving dish, cover, and keep warm.
10. To degrease and thicken sauce, put pot half on burner and let surface that is over the burner come to a boil. Surface of pot off the burner should stand still. Lower heat if it's moving. Occasionally, skim and degrease the non-heated surface. Cook in this manner until sauce thickens and becomes shiny, about 30 minutes. Serve stew and pass sauce and pears separately.

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