Happy New Year!

It's 2011 and a fresh start! I'm not one for resolutions, but I have decided that this year I am going to do one food-related post each week. John and I are making it a point to cook more and eat out less. We don't stick to any type of diet, but we are trying to follow a "whole food" diet with little to no pre-packaged food or highly refined foods. My goal is to post mainly healthy foods for fuel and recovery, with the occasional indulgence.

To start the year off on the right foot, I'm going to make my first food post. I'm going to try to post pictures with the recipes, and any suggestions. Obviously, I'm only going to post recipes I've made and tried (and would suggest to others). But if I get any recommendations or requests, I'll try find a recipe to make and post.

I thought since it's winter, stew would be a good place to start. We hosted a Wisconsin-themed cocktail party recently and for the party I made a venison stew. This could easily be made with beef, but the venison was awesome. To give proper credit, I found this recipe on the Food Network website. It's from Emeril but I did tweak it just a bit, mainly added more veggies and cutting out salt. And the venison I was given from a friend, so I'm not exactly sure where you would buy it commerically.

Venison Stew:
3 T olive oil
2 lb venison stew meat, cubed
1/4 c flour
1 1/4 T paprika
1/2 T salt
1 T garlic powder
1/2 T black pepper
1/2 T onion powder
1/2 T cayenne powder
1/2 T dried oregano
1/2 T dried thyme
2 c chopped onions (about 2 small or 1 large onion)
1 c chopped celery
1 c chopped carrots
1 T chopped garlic
1 T fresh basil
1 T fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
1 cup red wine
4 cups stock
2-4 c potatoes
8 oz mushrooms

In a large pot, heat olive oil over high heat. In a bowl, mix flour and highlighted seasonings. Toss venison in flour mixture. Sear the meat in the pot for 2-4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the onion and garlic and saute for 2 min. Add the celery and carrots, saute for for 2 min. Add wine and stock, deglaze the bottom of the pan. Add the fresh herbs and bay leaves. Simmer for 1 hour or put in a slow cooker on high for 6-8 hours.

Here's a shot of the meat and veggies prepped before I started.

I used Idaho golds and Baby Red potatoes. I also didn't used any dried thyme since we didn't have any. I'm not a hug fan of thyme anyway.

The original recipe called for simmering for 45min- 1hr. Venison can be tricky. I didn't know how old the deer was or where the cuts came from, so I wanted to simmer it all day to make sure the meat was completely tender. The house smelled awesome. As it turned out, the quality of meat was fantastic. I made the recipe a second time and simmered it for 1 hour and the meat was perfect. Thank you JP!
A few other notes:
1) If you want the original recipe, you can find it here. But here's a quick rundown of the changes I made:
  • I omitted 1 cup chopped tomatoes.
  • I added the mushrooms and potatoes and I doubled the amount of carrots. For me, a good stew requires potatoes, carrots and mushrooms.
  • I added the garlic earlier and deglazed with the wine and stock. I needed more liquid to deglaze the pan than just 1 cup of wine.
  • I cut the salt in the seasoning blend in half. I eliminated the "season with salt and pepper" the recipes directs at several points. There is enough flavor I don't think any additional salt is necessary.
2) If you don't like a spicy hot food, you may want to reduce the amount of cayenne.
3) You can substitute smoked paprika for all or part of the paprika. I like about half and half.
4) I found a "no salt added" beef stock that is really nice. It had about 150 mg sodium per serving compared to 600-700 mg per serving for typical stock and 300-400 mg per serving for reduced sodium stock.
5) You can put it all in the slow cooker and just cook it all day. But I think searing the meat and sauteeing the veggies and garlic with the seasoned meat makes a big difference.
This recipe turned out really nice. And you can see from the ingredients that there is no fat other than the olive oil. and you can increase the veggies and reduce the meat if you want. You can change the proportions of the veggies pretty easy, too. I don't actually measure anything, I just eyeball it. We liked it so much, I made a second batch the next day so we had leftovers to eat that week and plenty to freeze for the future. If you try it out, let me know what you think!


Christi said...

I love this idea and can't wait to read your food posts!

The venison looks very yummy!

Anonymous said...

Now I expect you'll be able to run like a deer.