Rustic Hunter's Stew
I live in this inbetween world of the city person I once was and the country dweller I am learning to be. Most days I live... blissful, honored, humbled even... by the fact that I live here in this peaceful and beautiful part of the world.
During these nine days of "Gun/Deer" hunting season, however, those attitudes change. Because of my upbringing, guns make me jittery, on guard and nervous. I worry those high powered rifles are in the hands of someone not thinking about or "knowing" their "target and beyond" as they're trained in hunter safety classes. I worry that the men shooting are careless or angry or drunk. I share these feelings with William who always consoles and reminds me of who is hunting here in our area - these are people we know who are respectful, responsible, reasonable and safe. The culture of hunting is one I will likely never understand in the same way the men who hunt do, but I respect the full freezers and bellies of our local harvest.
Today they take a break from hunting to process the meat, and I have made a hunter's stew for lunch. I even wrote down the recipe so it can be replicated in the future - a thing I don't often do! Typically, I cook with what I have and let the recipes come from ingredients on hand. If you don't have venison, this is a great recipe for any lean steak...or leave the meat out completely for a vegetarian version.
1/4 cup sunflower oil
3 Tbs. butter
2 pounds cubed venison steak (1/2 inch cubes)
1 large onion diced
4-6 garlic cloves minced
4-6 carrots, peeled & cubed
4-6 celery stalks, halved and diced
2 medium yellow potatoes diced
1 cup wild rice
1 tsp. salt (more to taste)
1 tsp. ground black pepper
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce
4-5 cups water
1 tsp. hot pepper flakes or chili garlic sauce (optional)
Thicken with 2 Tbs. flour added to 1/2 cup cold water. Make sure to whisk out the lumps.
(If you're a purist, make a toasted brown roux to thicken using 2 Tbs. heated butter or sunflower oil and 1 Tbs. flour toasted in a saute pan until it browns. Add liquid from the soup to make a slurry before adding this thickener to the soup.)
Directions: Heat oil and butter, sear diced venison to brown, add onions, saute until translucent. Add garlic, carrots, celery and potatoes. Stir and cook briefly until garlic releases its aroma. Add water and wild rice. Add salt, pepper, oregano, and Worcestershire Sauce. Simmer on low until wild rice begins to bloom (this is when you can see it's pale inside and the seed begins to curl). Once the rice is cooked, add the flour or roux thickener and cook for five minutes before serving.
The farm store is open these days with all sorts of nifty gifty gifts for your culinary or farmy friends! Stop by. We'll close (again) for the season on December 5th and reopen in April...at least that's the plan for now!
William and I are sending lots of gratitude and love your way! If you are able to join together with family and friends, we wish you happiness in being able to gather this year. Lots of folks were quite alone last year...hopefully those days are winding down.
Enjoy the stew!