January 19, 2007

Milking This Stew for All It’s Worth

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Is this allowed? I don’t know, but I’m going for it. I’m entering this Venison Stew with Dumplings in three separate blogging events. But I swear, it fits into all three of them very nicely. It all started when I heard about the Taste of Terroir event, for which I decided I would make something with venison and morels as they are the first ingredients that come to mind when I think about home. Then the theme for Waiter, There’s Something In My… was announced as stew and one of my favourite stews is venison stew. And finally, A Day That Really Schmecks II was created after such a favourable response to the first round, and as I learned while making my stew, the dumpling recipe I’ve eaten my entire life is from Food That Really Schmecks. Well doesn’t that just tie everything up into a nice little package? I thought so. But before you read on, you must listen to the best kitchen song ever, particularly good when making

Anna of Anna’s Cool Finds is hosting a one off event called A Taste of Terroir which she dreamt up after reading Food and Wine’s 100 Tastes to Try in ‘07. She noted that it may not be very easy for most people to experience all of these tastes because of where they live, but also that there is a world-wide community of food bloggers who have an eye for taste and aesthetics who might put together a much more unique list, grounded in their own bit of terroir. Anna believes terroir can go far beyond the traditional use in the areas of wine and coffee, and be applied to those foods and drinks which truly give a sense of place, or the taste of the place can be observed in them. This event is to share with others, local ingredients that you have a special connection with and the recipes that you make out of them. For me, venison and morels are two things that I associate with where I live. I can gather both of them from my backyard… Dad usually gets one deer per year and then butchers it himself and puts it in freezer for us to enjoy year round. Same deal for morels but the whole family goes hunting for them. Then we dry them and store them in big glass jars for use until the new crop comes up the next spring. Both the morels and deer can be enjoyed fresh simply fried in butter, allowing the full flavour to come through. They also enhance any dish they’re added to, stew being a perfect example of this. A plain old stew gets a huge boost of flavour when you make it with venison and morels instead of beef and button mushrooms. Welcome to the country.

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Waiter There’s Something In My… is a brand new blogging event started by Andrew of Spittoon Extra, Jeanne of Cook Sister and Johanna of The Passionate Cook. Stew has been chosen as the inaugural theme, which is perfect to warm you up during this cold weather, (my condolences to the Australians and other Southern hemisphere dwellers who aren’t up to making stew in 50°C weather). The idea of Waiter There’s Something In My… is to run an event for a finite period (12 months) and to make the themes as broad and inclusive as possible so that everyone can participate by taking the theme and making it their own. Stew is definitely a dish that can be adapted depending on where you live and what ingredients you have on hand, so I suspect there will be a wide variety of entries on this one. And since the category is so open, I suppose we could even get some dessert stews… If it were summertime I’d be entering stewed rhubarb served over vanilla ice cream, there’s something for you Southerners to try!

On January 15th Jasmine of Confessions of a Cardamom Addict, hosted A Day That Really Schmecks to celebrate Edna Staebler- her spirit, sense of humour and her food. As other people started to hear about this project they wanted to participate as well and so Jasmine is organizing A Day That Really Schmecks II so that more people can enjoy Edna’s recipes. There has been a copy of Food That Really Schmecks on my bookshelf for literally my entire life. I’ve been eating schmecking good food before I even knew it schmecked. I find it funny that I’m still discovering that recipes that I’ve always eaten are originally from this cookbook, such as the dumplings that I always have with my stew. Dumplings were the only reason I used to like stew and I usually ended up with more of those on my plate than anything else. They’re nothing flashy, but I love them. While I was making my venison stew, I asked Dad what recipe he used for dumplings and got a reply something like “It’s in the schmeck book.” Who knew? All along I’ve been eating Edna’s Featherlight Dumplings and was none the wiser. As I flipped through the book, looking for the dumpling recipe I marveled at Mom’s hand written notes, scribbled into the margin making additions, substitutions or just general comments (great!). I love old cookbooks.

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Whew, that was a lot of info. Here’s some more:

Venison Stew À La Bri, (There’s no set recipe for this, I change it slightly every time I make it based on what I have in the kitchen or garden, but here’s what I did this time around.)

1+ lbs venison, cubed
1 big carrot, peeled and chopped
1 big parsnip, peeled and chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 can chopped tomatoes
3 cloves garlic, minced
A handful of dried morels, broken up a bit.
2 cups beef stock
1 ½ cups red wine
1 cup water
A leftover bone from a leg of lamb, (most of the meat eaten in a previous meal, any leftover meat removed and added to the pot)
Dash of habanero sauce
A couple dashes of black bean sauce
A couple dashes of Sriracha sauce
A sprinkle of cumin
A sprinkle of garlic powder
A sprinkle of cayenne
A little rosemary
Freshly ground pepper
Olive oil

1- Season the venison cubes with cumin, garlic powder, cayenne, rosemary and fresh ground pepper and then brown the venison in olive oil.
2- Add the onion and garlic and soften a bit.
3- Add all of the other ingredients and bring to a boil.
4- Reduce heat and simmer for a few hours.
5- Remove the lamb bone.
6- Just before serving, make dumplings.

Featherlight Dumplings from Food That Really Schmecks

1 cup flour
2 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
Whatever herbs you want, or none at all, I used basil.

Combine first 4 ingredients. Add milk just until a thick dough forms, you don’t want it to be runny at all. Drop spoonfuls into the stew and cover tightly with a lid for 10 mins. Don’t peak. After 10 mins, your dumplings will have risen beautifully. Ladle your stew into bowls and serve with dumplings on top.

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Lis said...

That stew looks phenomenal! And I think it's cool that it fits in so well with 3 events. =)

I'm keeping this recipe as I love trying new stews. Thanks for sharing :D

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Who knew indeed. What a really fun discovery. I'm working on a stew soon but I have no venison! Your mom is smart that she wrote in the book. I only started do that recently - guess I worried the school book police would come after me.

Anonymous said...

That's great that this one recipe fits into all of those category's. What do they say...kill three birds with one stone?

BTW - I got a good laugh out of your Kirk Cameron comment. My room was the same way. I got to meet him when I was 14 and I probably really embarrassed myself. I just knew the two of us would marry some day! :)

Asha said...

Your blog and the recipe both look fabulous, Brilynn!!Excellent stew!!
WOW!! Three in one,eh?:)

Elizabeth said...

That looks delicious!! What time is dinner?


P.S. I HOPE it isn't 50C anywhere in the southern hemisphere - or at least anywhere that people live. I don't think I'd want to do anything except wilt at that heat.

K and S said...

That stew looks really good! I hope you win all three events!

jasmine said...

You are simply a creative and efficient blogger :)

Well done.


Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

Every other year or so, several dozen morels appear on my front lawn in May. A charcoal-maker used to live on our land, and apparently the residual ash in the ground makes a great environment for the morels!

.. said...

ohmigawd thats goeorgeois! wow i really screwed that word up :) seriously, those dumplings, the mushrooms, the broth. mmmm super elegant and delicious i can just tell. bow the the applause, clap clap clap!

Anonymous said...

Be still my heart! Venison stew?? *swoon*

Ari (Baking and Books)

Anonymous said...

Sounds so yummy! You are so so lucky with your morels! :)

Freya said...

This venison stew looks so warming and comforting...how lucky you are that you can get both the meat and the mushrooms in your backyard!

David said...

Looks like I posted my comments about your tasty stew in the wrong entry! (see technical difficulties comments)

Anonymous said...

This is a great recipe. I think stews are the best types of food!

Anonymous said...

That is the most wonderful venison stew I have seen...I can smell it from here! mmmmmm

Melting Wok said...

wow, its a one pot meal, loving it, thanks for sharing :) Cheers ! :)

Andrew said...

I love venison so will let you off the multi-event cheating - just his once mind! ;-)

cookiecrumb said...

Wow, morels in your backyard? You win.
Lovely concoction. So wintry (with those canned summery tomatoes).

Rachel Rubin said...

Wow, that sounds so amazing! I don't think I can venison where I live. At least not at the grocery stores I go to. I'll have to find someone who's been hunting!

My brother-in-law lives in Texas and makes the best Venison Gumbo using all the different Venison meets.

neil said...

Anytime there's morels around, I'm there! Love Robert Cray too.

Mary said...

Beautiful picture. I want to take some pictures to go with recipes to give to my kids. Never have photgraphed food. Any How to's?

Light? Camera?