Friday, October 14, 2011

Venison & Guiness Stew...

Living light on this earth and vegetarianism often go hand in hand.  Literature from some of the vegan camps will have you believe meat is the root of all evil.  I'm certainly not here to dispell any myths about the meat industry.  I prefer to get my sustinence from places where mass production does not exist.  I prefer to take control over where I get my foods (where I can) and prefer to support the guy next door, rather than the corporate machine.  On the other hand, I do want to discuss hunting as a form of foraging. 

Many outdoor magazines of late have discussed hunting as the ultimate on living lightly on this earth.  The meat is fresh, virtually fat free (making it extremely lean meat indeed!), toxin and hormone free as well as being a very healthy course of many minerals and protein.  Sadly, game meat has been cast in a dark light due to the bad practises of a precious few hunters.  Many hunters use conservationist practises and only take what they are willing to eat or pool their resources within the camp to make each animal go farther. 

The summer 2008 issue of Outdoors Canada (The Edible Wild edition) is an issue dedicated to the idea that anglers and hunters ARE in fact conservationalists.  In the introduction to the article "The best of living off the land", the editor waxes on about the days of growing environmental awareness and health consciousness.  It states "Well, that's where anglers and hunters come in.  They've long been doing what many others are only now beginning to sustainably off the land."
Our family members are the beneficiaries of free wild meat from families who either aren't sure how to prepare it or don't like the unique taste it affords. 

We are not too proud to accept free meat!

I proudly give to you a recipe that arrives from our garden's hard work as well as nature's hard work.  It has very little impact on our earth.  It doesn't support the meat industry.  It took almost no fossil fuels to create.  It also tastes like something my ancestors would have created in Ireland upon their arrival to Canada.  (not saying that cans of Guiness were readily available to settlers...but you never know what they threw in their stews...tee hee)

The first steps deal with the preparation of the meat...

I rinse the meat several times over.  Using fresh water each time.  I sealed the meat in a zip loc bag over night.  I stuffed the meat in the bag with veg oil, 3 cloves of garlic and salt.  The next day, I cooked the meat off in a frying pan (drain off the fluids first, depending on the cut, it can be oily and bloody...kind of a shock compared to commercial meats.)

Once the venison is browned, I add it to the slow cooker and begin to add the rest of the yummy ingredients.  Chopped celery, chopped parsnips from the garden from last year, potatoes from the garden this year, beef broth, the Guiness (about 1/4 of a can), 2 bay leaves (whole)...

These weird carrots are from our garden (above) as are these onions (below).

Well, of course the Guiness wasn't from our garden...but it was FREE!  What more can you ask for???

The stew simmered covered for 7 hours.  I added some sifted flour to the bubbling mix to thicken it up a bit.

This is another recipe that makes me feel like fall is here.

Red meat, root vegetables, thick brothed souped & stews...all things that my tastebuds have been craving since the cooler weather has arrived.  Cloudy days are made for soups & stews!  

You can make this stew ahead of time and freeze it for future use.  It went over really well at the Omemee Jam this past August.  The adults went crazy for it (the kids, not so much)!  Its also a great meal to have in the slow cooker for those days when its cold out, but there's work to be done.  Keeps the body warm and working!

Have you ever gotten your meat from a forest as opposed to a store?


  1. Very good recipe. We don't hunt yet, but I have thought about taking up bow hunting. We do barter for venison from friends, and never turn down a gift of meat. Karen

  2. Free Guinness. I wish!