Story, Recipes, and Photos by Kaitlin Hill

For Venison Stew, Jenni McCloud, owner of Chrysalis Vineyard, recommends a special Virginia grape to go with locally procured venison.

“Historically, wines have always been paired with a main dish that comes from the same land, and our Norton wine and deer preparations are a perfect match. Even though the deer meat may not be hunter-harvested, the stronger flavors of good deer meat go wonderfully with the bold flavors of Norton. I’ve found that they really do match each other perfectly.”

Venison Stew with Chrysalis Vineyard’s
2015 Estate Blend Norton 

Serves 4 – 6  |  Time: 3 hours


  • 1 ½ pounds of venison stew meat 
  • Salt and pepper, to taste 
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced 
  • 1½ tablespoons of all-purpose flour 
  • 1 tablespoon of tomato paste 
  • ½ cup of 2015 Estate Blend Norton 
  • 1 cup of chicken stock 
  • 2 sprigs of fresh thyme 
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 pound of new potatoes, quartered 
  • 2 carrots, peeled and sliced 
  • ½ cup of frozen peas


  1.  Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add one-third of the meat in a single layer and season it with salt and pepper. Cook until browned on the first side, about 5 minutes, then flip and brown the second side. Remove the meat from the pot and transfer to a bowl. Repeat with the remaining meat in two batches adding an additional tablespoon of oil with each round.
  2. Once all the meat is browned and removed from the pot, add the onion and celery and cook until softened, about five minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds, until fragrant.
  3. Next, add the flour and cook until browned for 2 minutes. Follow with the tomato paste, wine, chicken broth, thyme, and bay leaves. Use a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot before adding the venison back in.
  4. Bring the liquid to a boil then reduce to a simmer and cook for 1 hour.
  5. After an hour, add the potatoes and carrots. Bring the liquid to a boil then reduce to a simmer and cook for an additional 40 minutes to an hour until the vegetables and venison are tender. The venison should reach an internal temperature of 160°F.
  6. Stir in the peas and cook for five more minutes before spooning into bowls and serving.

For poached pears, a refreshing white is the best choice. Sarah’s Patio White is a winner for this dish because of its semi-sweetness and fruit-forward notes.

The wine’s natural sweetness, from two percent residual sugar, makes it great for poaching under-ripe pears that are still a little tart. 

Vanilla Bean Poached Pears with Chrysalis Vineyard’s
2018 Sarah’s Patio White 

Serves: 4 | Time: 1 hour 


  • 1 bottle of 2018 Sarah’s Patio White  
  • 1 cup of water
  • ¾ cup of granulated sugar 
  • 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped 
  • 4 Bartlett pears, peeled


  1. Place the wine, water, sugar, vanilla bean, and its pulp into a 4-quart pot over high heat. Bring the mixture to a boil and stir to help the sugar dissolve. 
  2. Turn the heat to low and submerge the peeled pears in the liquid. Cover the pot and cook for 30 minutes until the pears are tender but still intact.
  3. Place the pears in serving dishes and set aside. 
  4. Increase the heat under the pot to high and reduce the poaching liquid by half. It should thicken slightly and become syrupy.
  5. Pears can be served warm with a few tablespoons of the poaching liquid poured over. 
  6. Or the liquid and the pears can be chilled separately for an hour in the refrigerator, then combined and served cold. ML

Kaitlin Hill is a Culinary Institute of America trained chef, owner of Kait-Made Catering, and the creator of the Emotional Eats Blog where she shares her original recipes and studies in food history. To read more, visit

This article first appeared in the October 2019 issue of Middleburg Life.