05 January 2010

Welcome to January!

It's cold, it's snowy, and we're rosy-cheeked from shoveling all the drifts away from the doors. This latest storm was a beauty, but it went on forever! Silent Bob has made it his full-time job to run the snow-blower, haul wood, stock the birdfeeders, and clear a sledding run down the hill behind our grey cottage.

While he has been busy outside, I have diligently
 cleared out all traces of the holiday dietary debauchery that mounted up in the refrigerator (as per New Years Resolution #2). It's amazing the amount of detritus that accumulates over the course of the holidays! As I puttered away at the sorting, composting, trashing, washing, drying , refitting, and organizing of said fridge, I thought about dinner. What can I make with a red cabbage, carrots, a couple parsnips, celery, lemons, a green pepper, and condiments that are perfectly fine, but jumbled ? I have sworn to Silent Bob that we will not shop for more food until I have used up what's in this fridge... thank goodness there is meat in the freezer!

A stew would be a fitting supper on this snowy New England day! Yes... a venison stew with some herby dumplings topping it in the last few moments... I have a nice little bottle of red wine that Sara brought for Christmas. It has been hiding on one of the niches at the top of the winerack. While the stew is bubbling away, I can crack that open and sip a bit.

Ah!  Warm kitchen, warm supper, warm husband. Life will be good this evening.

Venison Stew - printer friendly

Venison Stew

In a large stewpot, sear on all sides:         

4 tbsp. olive oil
1 ½ lb. venison stew meat, rolled in flour, salt, pepper, and paprika

As venison browns, add:

1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced

Continue browning until the meat is crisped on all sides, then add:

3 c. water
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 large bay leaf
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper

Cover and simmer, adding after about 15 minutes:

1 lb. carrots, peeled and chopped into 1-inch chunks
1 parsnip, peeled and chopped into 1-inch chunks

Cover again and simmer, adding after about 30 minutes:

4 medium-sized potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1 inch chunks

Continue simmering until vegetables are tender.

In a measuring cup, combine:

4 Tbsp.flour (I use the flour left over from dredging the venison).
about ¾ c. water

Stir the flour roux into the stew until it begins to thicken and add:

Browning sauce to flavor and darken the gravy
Salt and pepper to taste and serve with hot baking powder biscuits or herbed dumplings.

Serves: 4

Herbed Dumplings - printer friendly

Herbed Dumplings

In a mixing bowl, whisk together:

1 ½ c. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. paprika
½ tsp. garlic powder
¾ tsp. salt
2 tbsp. dried parsley

Cut into the flour mix until mix is ‘pebble-like’:

3 tbsp. Crisco or unsalted butter


¾ c. milk

Mix together until the flour is almost incorporated and then add:

2 oz. cheddar cheese, grated

Continue mixing until the dough holds together.
Spoon onto the top of your stew (makes about eight dumplings).
Cover and cook (at a simmer) for 10 minutes.
Remove the cover of the stewpot and continue cooking for another 10 minutes.
Just before serving, run the whole pot under a broiler set at high and brown the tops of the dumplings to a soft golden brown. This only takes a minute or two, so watch the pot carefully.

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