15 March 2014

The Sherry Thief's Stew

You don't want to waste that last packet of moose from the back of the freezer on a recipe that could go wrong, so don't.  Stick to the basics: moose, booze, berries, root vegetables, and a slow oven.

Sherried Moose Stew

2 tbsp bacon fat
Moose, berries and jelly from the wild.  Root vegetables
are about the only local veg available this time of year,
but still in great shape.
4 cups* moose meat, whatever cut is left in the freezer, thawed, cut into stewing chunks
2 tbsp unbleached all purpose flour
3 shallots, finely chopped
a few sprigs of thyme, dug out from under the snow (or perhaps growing or hanging to dry in your kitchen window because you are smarter than we are)
1 bay leaf
5 black peppercorns
5 parsnips, cut in half lengthwise then sliced
The sweet from the sherry and apple jelly, and the tart of the
cranberries are simple ways to add depth.
3 carrots, prepare 2 of these like the parsnips and divvy the third one up amongst your dogs
4 cloves crushed garlic
1/2 c. sweet sherry, stolen from that nice British lady down the street**
1/4 c. apple jelly (or use red currant or rose hip)
3 c. water
1/2 c. frozen wild cranberries

*Fefe would normally weigh this for you but someone (someone of the feline variety for sure, never ever someone of the caribougrrl variety), broke the scale by dropping it pushing it off the counter
**in this case, Fefe's mother... she also might have known we were taking it, but we haven't yet returned the remainder of the bottle so it still counts as stolen...

Comfort Cove parsnips for comfort food.
Preheat oven to 325F.

In a large cast iron dutch oven over medium heat, melt the bacon fat.  Season moose with salt and pepper and toss with flour.  Brown moose, in batches if necessary, and set aside.

Add a bit more bacon fat if needed to saute shallots, thyme, bay leaf and peppercorns in moose juice for about 5 minutes.  Add parsnips, carrots and garlic, stirring regularly for 10 minutes.  Don't let the garlic burn: adjust your heat and/or fat as necessary.

Deglaze with sherry.  Add jelly, browned moose, water and cranberries to the pot.  Bring to a simmery-boil, stirring occasionally.  Don't worry about hunks of jelly, these will meld into the stew before you eat it.

Put lid on the dutch oven and transfer to oven.  Check every 45 minutes or so to make sure there's sufficient liquid; add more water if you need it.  Cook for 2 hours (or more or less; test the moose with a fork for doneness every once in a while... it's done when the moose is tender and the liquid is thickened).

We served it with roasted turnip (rutabaga, swede).  


Fefe made this stew during the last major deep freeze.
It's difficult to gauge the weather by looking outside... 

So cold, the dishwasher has been clogged with ice nearly every morning.

Our thyme, when we can find it, is holding up rather well despite the winter.

So cold, the cats have taken to sleeping under the covers.

Not only were there cats under the covers, but they refused to get out of bed.

So cold, we are supplying our neighbours with water via garden hose, because they forgot, just one night, to leave a drip and the wait list for water line repairs is weeks long.

So cold, the frost is clawing at the windows to get in.

Okay, maybe the windows hint at the weather outside even if you can't see it.

So cold, the only way to keep the kitchen warm is with the baseboard heaters and the oven.  So cold, we need a low and slow cooked meal. 

Raid your freezer, your root cellar, your pantry, your liquor cabinet... do whatever you have to do to minimize the time you spend out in the bitter cold.  Steal sherry from your mom mum if it means you can avoid a trip to the store.

I got up for this?

(In the interest of full disclosure, as I'm typing, it's raining outside -- such is March, or perhaps such is Newfoundland -- but guaranteed we've got some more too-cold-to-eat-salad weather to get through.  Perhaps the most comforting of comfort foods, a slightly sweet moose stew, can get us through.)


  1. Great timing! I've been looking around online for a good stew recipe (I blame the cold as well), and this looks perfect. I've even got some frozen cranberries, picked last fall in Bonavista Bay, still tucked away in the back of the freezer. Thanks ladies!

    1. So satisfying using those hand-picked berries... every time we take some out of the freezer we inevitably end up retelling the whole day around picking. Ours are from Trinity Bay and it had rained for a few days before we went out, and caribougrrl's rubber boots were stolen a couple weeks earlier... our knees were soaked and caribougrrl's feet were so wet, water squished out of her shoes every step of the trail out.

      Thanks for reading!


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