slow cooker venison stew

This recipe is great for those tougher cuts of meat such as the rounds or shoulder. My personal favorite cut has been for years the neck roast, bone in and split into two roasts.

I simply throw the roast into the slow cooker with a couple cups veal or beef stock, (either make your own or use store bought to save time,) half a bottle of red wine, I like a good Cabernet Sauvignon, a medium onion, couple carrots, couple whole tomatoes, and a couple fresh cloves of garlic. These vegetables are for seasoning purposes and will be discarded after the cook, so if you want wrap them in a cheese cloth to make a bouquet garini it will make things easier down the road. Cook on high for several hours, lower to low and slow cook for a total of twelve hours.

After cooking remove the vegetables and discard, remove the meat and set aside on a plate to cool. The meat will be falling off the bone. The key here is the bone, it adds a whole new dimension to the broth. If you are using a boneless cut of meat I would suggest getting veal or beef marrow bones from the market and throwing them in.

Strain the broth in the cooker and return the heat to high. I sometimes adjust the intensity of the flavor here by adding another cup of wine and or veal broth. Add your favorite stew vegetables and or potatoes and cook until aldente.  Salt and pepper to taste. I like to cook carrots, onion, peas, green beans, corn, and mushrooms in mine and I leave out the cubed potatoes because I like to ladle my stew over mashed potatoes.

While the vegetables are cooking pick the meat off the bone and cut into bite size pieces. Save any juice that has accumulated in the platter and return to the liquid in the cooker with the vegetables. I then skim off about two or three cups of the liquid and cool slightly in a mixing bowl. After it has cooled I whisk in about a cup of flour or Wondra whisking until creamy smooth, and a slug of Kitchen Bouquet for flavor and color, and while stirring return to the stew. This will give the mixture a nice texture. When the vegetables are done add in the meat and remove from the heat and cool. I personally let it set over night to further let the flavor  fully develop through out the mixture.

As I mentioned I like mine over mashed potatoes, or you can try broad egg noodles if that suite you. Sometimes I just like a bowl of it with slices of Cheddar cheese and biscuits on the side.



Venison meatballs sausage and mushrooms and a special note on wild mushrooms

000_08361.jpgDestroying Angel of the Amanita familyI like to combine ground pork and venison for moisture. In a large bowl I mix the meat then add herbs and spices, Here I’ve used fresh rosemary, sage, sea salt, fresh pepper, finely chopped onion, garlic and sweet red bell pepper. I tossed in a handful of fresh grated bread crumbs, a couple shakes of dried, grated in some fresh Parmesan cheese, and added a couple eggs. I mix it by hand and shape into 1-2 inch balls.

I cook my meatballs and all other meat in the sauce on low temperatures in the oven. Before adding the meat to the sauce I first brown it off in a large skillet with olive oil.

In this sauce I’ve added sweet Italian sausage, and country style pork ribs. I would have liked to have used venison or wild boar sausage, and boar ribs, however I did not have them on hand. After browning and adding the meat to the sauce I added course chopped onion, bell pepper, garlic, fresh oregano and basil, 1 sliced carrot, and fresh grated cheese. I then baked for several hours @250 degrees, then for 2 more hours @350.

After removing from the oven let the sauce stand and cool so as any grease from the pork will come to the surface where it can be spooned off. I served over fresh linguine with Italian bread and mushrooms sautéed in butter and sherry wine.

Note: here I have used store bought white mushrooms. To add a better flavor try the various dried or fresh wild variety offered at your store or from a source online. You will find the flavor far superior to common white ones.

A word of caution, do NOT try picking your own mushrooms in the wild unless you are trained in mycology or go with a trained mycologist. There are a good number of fungi through out North America and else where that will certainly kill you if eaten. I will include a picture of one of them that I took here in New Hampshire. I believe it is a mushroom called the “Destroying Angel.” It is the most deadly fungi here in the US, and the second most in the world and is abundant every where in the North East. It comes from a deadly family of mushroom know as the Amanita. Most all in this family are poisonous and should be avoided at all costs. Do not even touch them.

There are a number of publications out on mushrooms and if you spend any time outdoors you should study this science of Mycology not only for safety, but for the knowledge and fun of identifying various fungi when afield. There are literally thousands of different variates and it makes for an interesting outing.

Here are some web sites on this subject.

Have a great day,

Captain Don

Lobster roll

Fresh lobster meat will make all the difference in the world. If you can get them live, steam them for 5 minutes. remove the meat from the shells and cool. i simply add fresh ground pepper and sea salt, a small amount of mayonnaise and some chopped green onions. A fresh baked roll and some home made potato chips and you’re in heaven. 000_08021.jpg


Feast of the harvest

during the mid winter months after things have wound down and we have time to reflect back on the past fishing and hunting seasons I also like to really sit back and enjoy the bounty I have stocked in my freezer and cupboard in various ways. This month I’d like to go over different ways to care for and preserve the catches from the summer past.

like caring for any fresh killed game care for your fish starts at the time of the catch. Weather you fish from the shore, a private boat, or party boat, you have to keep your catch clean, cold and wet. With fresh water fish most people will keep their fish packed in their creel with ice and wet grass till they get home to process them. For salt water fish it’s different , for one you have to be careful not to let the fish sit in fresh water from melting ice for long, and always be sure to bag or wrap your fillets in plastic so as not to expose them to fresh water for any length of time. Fresh water will cause your salt water fish to rot not long after exposure so take great care to keep the two separated. If you can get salt water ice great, but if not just take care to wrap your fillets well. Another biggie is to bleed the fish while still alive, just before tossing them into your cooler slice the throat with a sharp knife so they bleed out while you’re fishing. Always keep your fish from exposure to the sun for any length of time, it will dry them out and also raise the tempature.
After catching and bleeding try to process the fish as soon as possible, filleting or head and gutting them.

Coolers are your fish’s best friend, but if you don’t have one for one reason or another, the next best thing is a burlap bag. Keep the bag wet and throw a bag of ice or two in until cutting time. Burlap is an excellent insulator and will keep the fish moist as well.

Final possessing at home requires you inspect and trim each fillet with care that all scales and any small bones are removed before preserving. Also take time to pat dry with a paper towel to remove moisture. Now comes the dilemma , how to freeze, preserve, store the final product so that when you retrieve it in the winter months it will be as fresh as possible.
There are with out doubt hundreds of ways to freeze fish, these are the two methods I prefer. The first is a new innovation , the vacuum packer. You can’t beat them. Be sure to pat the fillets DRY, don’t overload the bag and you will enjoy quality seafood far into the winter months. Just be very careful that the fish is very dry as the seal will leak on the bag if water or moisture is present when sealing. Length of time? That depends on the level of expected quality, up to 6 months with this method is all I care for, although I’m sure the fish will keep for a year before I’d toss it.

The second method I use is to dry the fillets, then wrap the fish with plastic wrap, then place in freezer plastic bags for freezing. Be sure to squeeze as much air as possible out of the bag before sealing. Length of time? 3 months for a fresh product, after that it becomes chowder or fish cakes up to 6 months, then gone.

Another method that is rarely seen anymore in this disposable age is to salt dry fish, salt cod is the most popular. Start with fresh cod fillets, skin off or on is fine. In a cooler layer course salt and fillets and let cure for 2-3 days. Do not add any water, in fact dry the fillets as dry as possible as the salt will draw out all the moisture in the curing time. Also be liberal with the salt.
After the cure is complete remove the fish and brush off any salt and moisture. Then hang the fillets in a place where they are exposed to the sun to dry, but stay cool and free  from bugs. The best time of year for this method is late fall, and my best results came from hanging the fillets on my boat while at sea.. You will have to improvise to your surroundings at the time. The drying process will take 4-6 days of direct sunlight, and once the product is finished storage is simple, wrap the product and store in your fridge or a cool place for up to a year. Be sure to wash off the fillet to remove salt before using.

One other method is to take your fish, fillets or whole, to a possessing plant that smokes fish. Take it to them fresh as frozen or thawed fish won’t work. It may cost you some money, but man, you can’t beat smoked fish. This method works best if it is cold smoked, and it works well with the white fleshed fish such as cod and haddock, and the darker fish, pollock, bluefish, and mackerel. The later is to die for as a appetizer served with a cocktail sauce and crackers.


Baked    Finnan haddie

start with smoked haddock fillets.smoked Cod can be substituted.
Place the fillet in a  casserole dish that is first greased with butter, then a white cream sauce is used to cover the bottom.
After adding the fish, cover the fillets with more cream sauce and bake for 15-20 minutes.
Serve over toast and garnish with sliced hard boiled eggs

Finnan Haddie

Baked    Finnan haddie

start with smoked haddock fillets.smoked Cod can be substituted.
Place the fillet in a  casserole dish that is first greased with butter, then a white cream sauce is used to cover the bottom.
After adding the fish, cover the fillets with more cream sauce and bake for 15-20 minutes.
Serve over toast and garnish with sliced hard boiled eggs

A simple seafood Alfredo

Seafood Fettuccini Alfredo
in a large saute pan melt butter and saute chunks of lobster, scallops, shrimp, and king crab meat, after the seafood starts to simmer add heavy cream, when this mixture comes back up to tempature grate in fresh Parmesan cheese to thicken. Add pre cooked fettuccini, fresh chopped parsley  and remove from heat, do not over cook.  Serve at once

Baked cod or haddock

baked fresh cod or haddock
grease a casserole dish with butter, and place the fillet in skinned side down.
Sprinkle lightly with sea salt and fresh ground pepper
top with crushed Ritz cracker and a pad of butter.
Bake for 10 to 15 min. @ 350′ do not over cook!  Enjoy!

I can’t wait to get my hands on a fresh piece of fish!