1 ½ lbs venison or beef shoulder chuck or leg roast, cubed for stew
2 teaspoons kosher salt plus more to taste
½ cup dry sherry or brandy
3 cups meat stock water is ok in a pinch, but not as good
½ cup sour cream
10-20 grams dried wild mushrooms depending on species and how many mushrooms you’re trying to get rid of this is about 1-2 cups of sliced dried mushrooms
1 Tablespoon minced or pressed garlic
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground caraway (optional)
4 large shallots diced ½ inch, about 2 cups (yellow sweet onions can be substituted)
¼ cup lard preferably from the meat you’re cooking, or use unsalted butter
1 cup sour cream at room temperature
2 Tablespoons all purpose flour or equivalent plus more for dredging
Cooked egg noodles or mashed potatoes for serving
Chopped fresh dill or cilantro
Chives or sliced green onion
Finely diced gherkins or tart pickles
Fresh cracked black pepper
Soak the mushrooms in the stock to cover for 15 minutes, then swish them around to remove grit. Remove the mushrooms, squeeze dry, chop very coarse (you want to bite into pieces here) and reserve. Strain the liquid to remove any sediment.
Meat and building the stew
Season the venison or other meat with the caraway and 2 teaspoons of salt and pepper, then allow to marinated overnight, or at least a few hours. Heat a 1 gallon or similar capacity soup pot with the lard, toss the meat in flour and brown deeply, working in batches. Be patient, and do not allow the bottom of the pan to burn.
When the meat is browned, add the garlic, onion, and dried mushrooms add a little extra fat if needed and sweat for a few minutes to cook off moisture, then add the extra two tablespoons of flour and stir, cook for 2 minutes more. De-glaze with the sherry, stock and reconstituting liquid, and bring the mixture to a simmer, turn the heat down to as low as possible, and simmer very gently for 1 hour, covered. Add a few tablespoons of cooking liquid to the sour cream and stir well to loosen it.
When the meat is tender and tastes good to you, turn the heat down to low, stir in the sour cream, making sure it dissolves nicely, then warm the sauce back up, but don't boil. Taste the sauce, adjust the seasoning as needed, and serve over egg noodles or mashed potatoes. Garnish with fresh chopped dill, cilantro, generous amounts of fresh cracked pepper and diced gherkins if using.