Recipe courtesy of Mario Batali
Show: Molto Mario
Episode: Freaky Fricco
2 hr 40 min
30 min
2 hr 10 min
6 to 8 servings


  • 7 cups red wine
  • 1 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 large head garlic, cloves peeled and crushed
  • 2 yellow onions, peeled and sliced thin
  • 3 1/2-inch thick rounds peeled gingerroot
  • 10 juniper berries, lightly crushed
  • 6 whole cloves, lightly crushed
  • 3 pounds venison shoulder, trimmed into 2-inch cubes
  • 3 ounces smoked pancetta
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper
  • 1/3 cup grappa
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • Prune jam, recipe follows
Prune Jam:
  • 2 cups pitted dried prunes, softened in warm water
  • 2 cups red currant jelly
  • 1 2-inch cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar


In a large bowl, combine 6 1/2 cups wine, the vinegar, garlic, onions, and spices. Add the venison, and stir the whole mixture together. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow to rest in the refrigerator for 24 to 36 hours, stirring occasionally.

Remove the venison from its bath, patting the pieces dry, and reserve the marinade. In a Dutch oven or other large, ovenproof vessel, saute the pancetta in the olive oil for a few minutes, then remove to a plate lined with paper towels. Add the venison chunks, working in batches, and sear on all sides, adding more oil if necessary. When the meat is done, remove it to the plate with the pancetta and season well with salt and pepper.

Return the pancetta, meat and marinade to the Dutch oven and bring to a simmer. Cover the pot loosely and braise the meat over a very low flame for 1 1/2 hours, until the meat is very tender.

With a slotted spoon or tongs, remove the meat to a serving plate. Add the grappa to the braising liquid and reduce over a medium flame for 15 minutes. Strain the sauce through a chinois, pressing down on the solids left in the strainer to extract the maximum juice and flavor. Return the strained sauce to the pan and stir in the butter. Season with salt and pepper and add the remaining 1/2 cup red wine to the sauce. Serve the meat with the sauce poured over and the prune jam on the side.

Prune Jam:

Place all the ingredients in a saucepan and cook over medium-low heat until the prunes expand with heat and moisture and the wine and jelly meld and thicken, about 8 minutes. Let sit for 10 minutes, then remove the cinnamon stick and serve a few tablespoons with each portion of meat.

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