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Monday, December 26, 2022

Reviewing Herbes de Provence for Stews and How I Made Venison Stew

I've never been a fan of stews. Over my lifetime I've occasionally had a stew that was delicious. But typically, I'm just not a fan of the flavor. I never knew what the difference in flavor was and I never thought to ask. Now I believe that I know the answer: Herbes de Provence! I am a fan of Herbes de Provence.

What is Herbes de Provence?

I'd never heard of that seasoning blend until recently. While searching for a recipe for venison stew I found a young lady that uses Herbes de Provence in her recipe. I listened to why she recommended it and I looked it up. 

Herbes de Provence is a blend of herbs that were used in the Southeastern region of Provence France. These herbs were widely used because they were widely available in that area. The blend began to be bottled in the 1970s and became more widely available. The bottled version that I have contains:

  • Thyme
  • rosemary
  • basil
  • parsley
  • oregano
  • tarragon
  • marjoram
  • lavender flowers
I was a bit hesitant when I learned that lavender was included. In my opinion, lavender has become one of those scents and flavors that is becoming too widely used. And used with a heavy hand. But I decided to give a try just once. It turns out that the hint of lavender with the other herbs in a stew adds a wonderful flavor.

How Did I Make Delicious Tender Venison?

Venison is a very lean meat making it a healthy choice. Because it is so lean it can be overcooked and become rubbery. I have made the mistake of overcooking venison. This is why searched for tutorials on making venison stew. I wanted something other than a roast made in the crockpot and I wanted to attempt a flavorful stew.

I decided to use the recipe from Miss Allie's Kitchen, Her recipe includes venison, celery, potatoes, onions, and carrots. Her recipe is also how I heard about Herbes de Provence.

I seared the chunks of venison and removed them from the pan. I placed the other ingredients into the pan for just a bit to aid in softening them. I didn't realize that I didn't have diced tomatoes. So my first attempt did not include that ingredient but the stew turned out great despite that omission.  I then removed the vegetables from the pan, added the venison back into the pan with a sprinkle of flour as other recipes suggested to thicken the stew. I added the remainer of the ingredients and closed the pressure cooker.

Because venison is so low fat, I used a small pressure cooker. I prefer a stovetop pressure cooker although my son is trying to convince me to purchase an Instapot. I am accustomed to the stovetop style pressure cooker and get good results. But there are several ways to cook this stew and you can choose what works best for you.

(note: The brand shown in the Amazon link is the brand I use and prefer. However, at the time of this writing, the product listed on Amazon is double the price of the same product in local stores)

Related Links:

Watch Miss Allie's Kitchen Classic Venison Stew video tutorial here

Find the ingredients and Miss Allie's Kitchen written recipe here

I recently began baking popovers which are perfect with venison stew! You can see my review of popovers here


  1. I love beef stew and my mother's recipe (which I cook) includes similar ingredients to your venison stew recipe. I also love my instant pot, but I have never tried making my stew in it. Now I am intrigued with the idea and wonder if it would be just as delicious. I have never cooked venison, but we have several family members who consider it a staple, therefore I have eaten it before. As you said, I found it to be a tougher meat. Clearly, I should share your recipe with them! Thanks for all of the great tips for making venison stew AND recommending the herbes de provence seasoning. I look forward to trying it

    1. I'm sure that pressure cooking the stew made a huge difference with making tender venison. The venison fell apart - just like beef cooked slowly in a crock pot. I look forward to hearing about any recipes you try with the herbes de provence - since you are much better in the kitchen than I am.

  2. I, too, enjoy cooking with Herbes de Provence and find the subtle inclusion of lavender to add a delicious flavor when combined with the dried herbs. Penzeys us my go-to brand for herbs, spices and extracts, but I am interested in trying the Simply Organic brand you recommend.

    1. Ah yes, the "subtle inclusion" is a perfect way to describe the lavender. I've never heard of Penzeys. Of course that may be because I lived in the land of McCormick for all those years.

  3. I AM a fan of beef stew. I would like to try your recommended recipe for venison stew, using beef!. I'd also like to try out the Herbes de Provence blend of herbs. And, I think my daughter-in-law, who loves trying out various spices and herbs, would love learning about this one.

  4. I did think this would be just as good for beef stew and I plan on trying it the next time I buy beef. If you or your daughter-in-law try Herbes de Provence, I hope you let us know what you think.

  5. I'm not a big fan of venison at the best of times, but this just might make all the difference in my opinion. I love cooking and eating things that are well seasoned, so this might just be the answer! Thanks Dawn Rae for this new way to try making a stew that I think I could really enjoy!

  6. Thank you for the introduction to this herb mix. Sounds perfect. I use mixed herbs but usually I grab individual bottles to create it. I'll be looking for this one. I'm with you regarding lavender, but it sounds like it's ok with these combinations. Very curious to try it.

  7. We do a lot of vegetable stews and casseroles in winter and I think from your review that Herbes de Provence would be a great addition. I do like the sound of the flavours and the mix. Thank you for your review and recommendation.


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