Venison Goulash

Karoo Venison Goulash 

The semi desert, the Karoo, in the south western corner of South Africa takes up a large area of the interior of the Western Cape and Northern Cape provinces. The desert falls into the pattern of west coast deserts found world wide, due to global climatic forces. The cold water currents from the Antarctic moving up the west coasts of the continents in a counter clockwise gyre caused by the Coriolis effect in the southern hemisphere lead to low humidity in the air streams above them.

The Karoo's name is truly ancient and comes from the word used by the first people, and means 'land of thirst' in some Khoisan languages. Nonetheless the area is said to be home to 7000 varieties of succulents, and once roving herds of game so vast they went from horizon to horizon. There would have been no need to farm in such abundance. However with the coming of the Europeans and their guns these vast herds were rapidly eliminated.

In the present time Karoo farms mostly farm with livestock, all free range. Foraging off the dried aromatic herbs of the region in their pastures forms a large part of the animal's diet and you can literally taste the herbs in animals from this region. In the Karoo they farm with ostriches for feathers and meat, sheep for the massive wool industry of the Karoo and mutton which has a global name, because of its exquisite flavor. The game animals may be springbok, eland, kudu or others chosen from our diversity of game animals now bred for farming.

Karoo meat is not only free range, it is free of pollutants. The last decade has seen a massive showdown with the Shell oil company who wanted to frack in the Karoo. The public outcry was enormous and the battle continues.

Activists point out that fracking brings short term gains and long term pollution and that farming already feeds more people in the region. Activists claim that farming has been sustainable in the Karoo for centuries, or millennia, even back to the origin of man hundreds of thousands of years ago if you include indigenous people's use of the Karoo for hunting, and the use of the Karoo by our human ancestors. The Karoo already provides a livelihood through farming to millions of people in the form of small businesses dependent on farming. Fracking is not harmonious with tourism, a huge industry in South Africa, while farming is. Fracking would destroy the Karoo's crystal clear ground water, on which the region's free range livestock businesses depend. The livelihoods of poorer Karoo people need to be made more stable and adequate, education more widespread and social services need to be strengthened, but wealth sharing rather than fracking is the answer.

Due to the activism of many people we can still enjoy animal products from the Karoo, knowing that these animals roamed under a cobalt blue sky, grazed where they chose to graze and drank the purest fossil water, filtered by layers of ancient shales. Karoo venison is a food with a unique flavor due 

to the herbs the animals eat, and its a food with symbolic significance in the history of mankind. These were the first animals hunted by modern humans, and in biblical metaphor, the perfume of their burning fat pleased God. I've made fat candles from Karoo mutton and they burned with an odor of incense without adding any essences.

Preparation Times 
Karoo Venison Goulash

Preparation time: 15 minutes 
Cooking time: at least 105 minutes
Resting time: 0 minutes
Total time needed: at least 20 minutes
Grade of Difficulty: standard


Serves 4

Karoo Venison Goulash

  • 500 grams / 1.1 pounds venison cut into bite sized chunks
  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 medium sized onion, diced
  • 5 small spring onions, sliced into rings
  • 3 cloves of garlic, (or to taste) finely chopped
  • 2 small carrots, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and  cut into cubes
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into cubes
  • 70 grams / 2.47 oz. tomato paste
  • 1 heaped tsp. mustard
  • 1 cup beer - I used a lager but you can use any beer of your choice
  • 2 cups venison stock (optional - if you don't have venison stock, use mutton- or beef stock instead)
  • 1 tsp. salt (or to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper (or to taste) freshly ground
  • 1 tsp. plain paprika powder
  • 1/2 tsp. Garum masala
  • 1 steak knife tip of Carolina Reaper chili powder (optional)
  • Full cream yogurt as you like (optional)

Karoo Venison Goulash

  • Melt butter in a large skillet / pan on medium hot heat
  • Sprinkle meat from all sides with salt, pepper and paprika powder and saute in the butter for about 8 minutes or till all sides have been nicely browned
  • Add onions, carrots, peppers and garlic and saute for 5 minutes, stirring all ingredients regularly
  • Add tomato paste and mustard, stir and let all saute for 1 minute
  • Add beer and venison stock and wait till the goulash sauce will begin to boil
  • Add remaining salt, pepper, paprika powder, Carolina Reaper chili powder 
  • and Garum masala, stir well, reduce heat, partially cover pot with lid and let all simmer for 90 minutes, stirring twice during this time
  • Take of the stove, and serve Karoo Venison goulash hot with a little yogurt (optional) and baked potatoes or pasta of your choice 

What is Venison Meat?

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