Winter Recipes: Venison Stew, Buttermilk Cornbread, Chocolate-Walnut Toffee

Whether served for a hearty supper or festive holiday gathering, these comforting, easy-to-make recipes are sure to delight friends and family.

By Scott Jones | Photos By Jason Wallis

Web Exclusive: Chocolate-Walnut Toffee

If you’re not a fan of white chocolate, feel free to use all semi-sweet chocolate morsels instead. Substitute your favorite nut—slivered almonds, chopped pecans—in place of the walnuts.

Chocolate-Walnut Toffee

Chocolate-Walnut Toffee

1/3 cup finely chopped walnuts

1 sleeve of saltine crackers

1 cup unsalted butter

1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup peanut butter

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate morsels

1 cup white chocolate morsels

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Bake walnuts in a single layer in a shallow pan 5 to 7 minutes or until lightly toasted and fragrant, stirring halfway through.
  1. Meantime, line a 15- x 10-inch jellyroll pan with nonstick aluminum foil. Arrange crackers in prepared pan, breaking as necessary to fit and completely cover bottom of pan.
  1. Bring butter and brown sugar to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Boil, stirring constantly, 3 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in vanilla extract.
  1. Pour mixture over crackers in pan; spread over crackers.
  1. Bake at 350° for 13 minutes. (Mixture will start to bubble at about 10 minutes. Continue to bake to 13 minutes.) Remove pan from oven and add peanut butter in dollops; return pan to oven for 1 to 2 minutes or until peanut butter begins to melt. Remove pan from oven to a wire rack. (Mixture will still be bubbly.) Spread peanut butter over brittle. Sprinkle top with chocolate and white chocolate morsels; let stand 1 minute or until morsels soften. Spread morsels over brittle. Sprinkle with walnuts; let stand at room temperature 30 minutes. Place pan in refrigerator; chill 30 minutes or until chocolate is firm. Break into about 20 pieces. Store in an airtight container up to 1 week in refrigerator.

Prep: 15 min. Cook: 5 to 7 min. Bake: 15 min. Stand: 30 min. Chill: 30 min. Yield: About 1  1/2 pounds

Hunter’s Venison Stew

Hunter’s Venison Stew and Buttermilk Cornbread

Hunter’s Venison Stew and Buttermilk Cornbread

3 pounds boneless venison,* cut into 1-inch cubes

1/4 cup, plus 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon pepper

2 Tablespoons vegetable oil

1 onion, chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 cup red wine**

1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes

2 (14 1/2-ounce) containers beef broth

2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning

3 carrots, peeled and sliced into rounds

2 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped

1 (8-ounce) package fresh mushrooms, quartered

  1. Pat venison cubes with paper towels to absorb excess moisture; place in a large bowl. Combine 1/4 cup flour, salt and pepper in a large bowl; sprinkle over venison, and toss well with hands to coat.
  2. Cook venison in batches in hot oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, 4 to 6 minutes or until browned on all sides. Remove venison.
  3. Add onion and garlic, and cook 5 minutes or until onion is soft. Add remaining 2 Tablespoons flour, and cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Add red wine, stirring to loosen particles from bottom of Dutch oven; cook until liquid is reduced by half. Add tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes. Add venison, broth and Italian seasoning. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, 1 hour.
  4. Add carrots, sweet potatoes and mushrooms. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until venison is tender.

* 3 pounds boneless beef roast may be substituted.

** Beef broth may be substituted.

Prep: 30 min. Cook: 3 hrs. Yield: 8 servings

Buttermilk Cornbread

2 to 3 teaspoons bacon drippings or vegetable oil

2 cups buttermilk

1 large egg

1  3/4 cups white cornmeal

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt


  1. Coat bottom and sides of a 10-inch cast-iron skillet with bacon drippings; heat in a 450°F oven for 10 minutes.
  2. Whisk together buttermilk and egg. Add cornmeal, stirring well.
  3. Stir in baking powder, baking soda and salt. Pour batter into hot skillet.
  4. Bake at 450°F for 15 minutes. Serve with butter, if desired.

Prep: 15 min. Bake: 15 min. Yield: 6 to 8 servings