Today I have something special for you, straight out of Lauren Wilson's new book: The Walking Dead - the Official Cookbook and Survival Guide. The deer you bagged may not be eight foot tall or weigh 12,000lbs, but you'll still need a good recipe to warm you up after a day in the woods, even if it wasn't thirty below. Dixon's Deer Stew may as well have strutted right out of your dreams, it's everything you didn't know you were waiting for.
If hunting isn't your thing, don't pass this recipe by, you can still try this stew out with one quick and easy subsititution. This is what I'll be doing since someone in my family had the audacity to get married on opening day of deer season this year. (Seriously, who plans a wedding for opening day of deer season? This is the second time someone in this branch of the family has done that. I'm starting to think we need to stage an intervention.) The wedding may have saved me from sitting in the woods all day with nothing but a bottle of dandelion wine to keep me warm, but it also means that deer meat is in short supply around here unless I hit up my baby brother. If you're in the same boat, no worries, you can easily substitute beef stew meat. Added bonus: You'll have a very delicious stew without having to freeze your buns off sitting in the woods waiting for Da Turdy Point Buck so you can cook yourself a meal.
If you didn't get any of the references I've made in today's post it's quite possible you weren't alive in 1992, so go watch the video I've linked to above and see what you missed out on by not being around in the early 90s . It's 5 minutes of your life you'll never get back, but how can you say no to a deer huntin rappin tale?
I knew you couldn't, just like I know you can't resist trying this stew.
We all know that Daryl Dixon is a natural tracker and hunter. He’d also be the first to tell you that a deer is far more than just tenderloin and chops. To make the most of the whole animal, you are going to have to use up those tougher cuts from the shoulder and rear. These cuts are perfect for stewing because of all the connective tissue that breaks down over long cooking and causes the meat to become fork-tender.
If you can’t get your hands on venison, you can substitute stewing beef—at least until you get your hunting skills up to snuff (see “Hunting Basics” on page 24) or make it to your local butcher. This recipe features simple vegetables the group could have grown in their prison garden: onions, carrots, potatoes, and peas. In nonapocalyptic settings, feel free to add more “exotic” ingredients like button mushrooms or parsnips.
Dixon's Deer Stew
YIELDS: 4 SERVINGS
PREP TIME: 10 MINUTES
COOK TIME: 2 HOURS
3 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
3 pounds venison stew meat (from the front shoulder or rear end: chuck roast, top round, bottom round), cubed
Salt and pepper
2 sweet onions, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1¼ cups red wine for deglazing, or water
4½ cups beef broth, divided
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf, if available
3 carrots, peeled and sliced into ½-inch rounds
2 large potatoes, diced
½ cup barley
½ cup peas, garden fresh or frozen
Preheat a large heavy pot (like a Dutch oven, if available) with 1 tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat.
Pat the meat dry and season generously with salt and pepper, to taste.
Cover the bottom of the pot with a single layer of meat—do not overcrowd it or it will not sear properly. Leave the meat undisturbed for 3 to 5 minutes, until it has nicely browned.
Repeat for all sides, remove from the pot, and set aside.
Repeat the process for the remaining meat, adding another tablespoon of oil if needed. You will see a brown mess at the bottom of the pan—this is a good sign. If it begins to burn, turn down the heat.
Turn the heat down to medium. Add another tablespoon of oil, if needed, along with the onions, and stir until softened, about 5 minutes.
Add the garlic and stir until fragrant.
Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes.
Add the tomato paste and stir constantly for another minute.
Turn the heat to high and add the red wine, working up all the browned bits at the bottom of the pot with your spoon.
Return the meat to the pot, and cover with 4 cups of broth. Add the thyme and bay leaf.
Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down, cover, and simmer for 1 hour.
Stir in the carrots and potatoes. Simmer covered for another 30 minutes.
Add the barley to the pot, along with ½ cup of broth. Simmer covered for another 30 minutes.
Check the doneness of both the meat and the barley. The stew is done when everything is tender. Stir in the peas, cover, and let sit for 5 minutes.
- Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
This book was sent to me for review by Insight Editions as always, all opinions are my own.
Recipe excerpted from The Walking Dead - The Official Cookbook and Survival Guide, © 2017 by Lauren Wilson. Photography © 2017 by Yunhee Kim. Reproduced by permission of Insight Editions. All rights reserved.