2lb diced venison
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
salt to taste
1lb pearl or boiler onions, peeled
8oz fresh mushrooms, sliced
2oz mixed dried mushrooms
4 cups venison or chicken stock
4 cups water
1.5 cups pearl barley
2 sprigs rosemary
4 sprigs thyme
- Place the dried mushrooms in a bowl and pour over enough boiling water to cover, making sure they are submerged. Let mushrooms soften and rehydrate, at least 10 minutes.
- In a large heavy based pot (I use an enameled cast iron dutch oven) over high heat, add half the olive oil and brown the venison pieces, working in batches to avoid overcrowding. Season meat with salt as you go. Remove meat to a seperate bowl once browned.
- Add remaining oil to the pot, then brown the onions and fresh mushrooms, about 5 minutes.
- Return meat to pan, then add the dried mushrooms AND the water they were soaked in, plus the stock and water. Bring to a boil.
- Add barley, then reduce mixture to a low simmer. Throw the herbs on top, stems and all, and put a lid on the pot. Cook until venison is tender, stirring occasionally, 60-80 minutes. Season with salt towards the end of cooking to avoid concentrating the salt flavor.
- Remove the herbs before serving.