Slow Cooker Venison Stew Recipe

Use tomato sauce in this Venison Stew Slow Cooker Recipe to bring out its flavor.

From "Original Local"
October 2014

Yield: 6-8 servings

Local food has attracted a lot of attention in recent years, but the concept is not new. In Original Local (Minnesota Historical Society Press, 2013), author Heid E. Erdrich delves into the recipes of indigenous people who have always made the most of nature’s gifts. This recipe for Slow Cooker Venison Stew is from Section 3, “Fish and Game.”

You can purchase this book from the GRIT store: Original Local.

Slow Cooker Venison Stew Recipe

My brother Ralph’s secret ingredient is “not vinegar” and “not tomato paste.” He tells me he has only one recipe: “Cook it on high. Don’t let it burn.” Oddly, he makes this stew in a slow cooker on low heat over the course of hours. I ask him, what about seasoning? It’s in the tomato sauce, he assures me. I am baffled. I have read a lot of venison recipes, and there’s a good deal of fuss with vinegar and brine. Ralph explains that as a relic of the past, when cooks used vinegar to remove “gamey” flavors. These days, he says, we all have sweet, fat, corn-fed deer.


• 2 pounds venison roast, cut into half-inch cubes
• 1 (24-ounce) jar tomato or spaghetti sauce, any flavor
• 2 potatoes, chopped
• 2 carrots, chopped
• 1 onion, chopped


1. Put all of the ingredients in a slow cooker.

2. Set on low.

3. Cook all day, until meat is tender.

4. Add water if need be.

Want to learn more recipes from Original Local? Try these recipes:

Vegetarian Cassoulet Recipe With Great Northern Beans
Pumpkin Bundt Cake Recipe
Garlic-Smashed Potatoes Recipe

Reprinted with permission from Original Local: Indigenous Foods, Stories, and Recipes from the Upper Midwest, by Heid E. Erdrich, and published by Minnesota Historical Society Press, 2013. Purchase this book from our store: Original Local.