Dixon Deer Stew from The Walking Dead - The Official Cookbook and Survival Guide by Lauren Wilson

Dear Hunters,

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.

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. DISCLOSURE: A review copy of this book was provided by the publisher, 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. DISCLOSURE: A review copy of this book was provided by the publisher, as always all opinions are my own.

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





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. 

Pumpkin Pie Spiced Pepitas (Pumpkin Seeds)

The holidays are always a hectic time for us since we live so far from home. It’s a six hour drive (or longer if we’ve had a recent snowfall) so I like to pack a treat to eat on the road. Monday I spent the morning alternating my time between baking and rounding up every last thing we think we need for the trip back to St. Louis. Somehow we always pack twice as much as we actually need, but once the car was loaded up we hopped in and made our way home.

Even though I’m not in charge of cooking a single thing for the holiday meal this year I still hate to come empty handed. The pumpkin pie spiced pepitas I made for our trip are perfect to bring along to all of our family gatherings. They only take a few minutes to make, especially if you buy pre-hulled pumpkin seeds (look for them in the health-food section, the baking aisle, or with the snack nuts) and you can make them in advance if need be. Toss the seeds with liberal amounts of butter, salt, sugar, and pumpkin pie spice—bake for a few minutes—and you'll have a tasty treat to share with your friends and family. They'll be gone in minutes, so make sure to bring extras!

Pumpkin Pie Spice Pepitas (Pumpkin Seeds)

Pumpkin Pie Spiced Pepitas
makes 8 - 10 servings


2 tablespoons salted butter, melted
12 ounces (2½ cups) pepitas
⅛ cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice
sea salt, to taste


  • Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large bowl combine melted butter, pepitas, sugar, and pumpkin pie spice. Spread evenly on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 7 minutes, stir once, and bake for an additional 8 minutes.
  • Once the pepitas have been removed from the oven allow them to cool for 30 minutes and top with sea salt before serving.


Leftover pepitas can be stored in an airtight container. They'll stay fresh for at least 5 days, but ours are usually long gone before then.

Pumpkin Pie Spiced Apple Butter #Unprocessed

I really hadn't planned on buying more apples this week, but I made a last minute trip to the grocery store and discovered that they were on sale. I've never seen them priced so low and I may have been tempted to pick up a few (or possibly 12) pounds. After my marathon canning session last month where I spent my days turning 75 pounds of apples in to sauce I had decided I was done with canning for the year. Not because I was tired of canning, but because I ran out of jars. After turning my house upside down I found a few empty jars that I had been using for other purposes and decided the first project I wanted to cross off my list was apple butter. It's something that I haven't made it in years, but I felt like it was a great project to tackle for October #Unprocessed since one of my goals this month has been to reduce the amount of sugar in my diet.

Fruit butters such as apple butter, apricot butter, and vanilla bean peach butter are a great option for anyone wanting to reduce the amount of sugar in their diets. An entire batch of fruit butter uses 1 cup of sugar (or less) whereas jam or jelly will use as much as 5 cups per batch. It's definitely a much healthier option that will still allow you the occasional sweet treat. I've been enjoying mine on whole grain bread any time my craving for something sweet hits. These days I find that I don't even miss the extra sugar from jam or jelly, plus my house smells like fall every time I open up a jar. 

Apple Butter

makes 6 half-pints or 3 pints


7-8 lbs apples (I used Galla)

3 tablespoons home made pumpkin pie spice

1 vanilla bean

¾ cup light brown sugar or 1 cup of turbinado sugar


immersion blender (optional)

water-bath canner or stock pot with lifter

6 half pint canning jars with lids and rings

jar grabber

magnetic lid lifter


butter knife


clean dish towels and cloths 


  • Wash, peel, and slice apples. Place them in the crock-pot and cook on high with the lid on for 2 - 3 hours.
  • After 2 - 3 hours puree the partially cooked apples with an immersion blender or food processor, return the puree to the slow cooker. Continue cooking the apples for an additional 6 - 8 hours with the lid off.
  • After 6-8 hours the contents of the crock pot should have reduced roughly in half, if they have not you can continue to cook the apples down further. 
  • Open vanilla bean pod with a knife and scrape the insides into the apple butter. Add brown sugar and pumpkin pie spice and stir until well incorporated.
  • At this point you can fill your jars and keep them refrigerated for up to a month or process using the water bath canning directions below for storage of up to one year.

Canning Instructions

  • Sterilize your canning jars, rings, funnel, and any other equipment that will come into contact with the apple butter. You can do this easily by putting everything in the dishwasher and running it. Just don't put your equipment in with dirty dishes.
  • While your jars are sterilizing fill your stock pot with water and let it boil. It takes awhile for a large pot of water to boil, so keep this in mind. You don't want to fill your jars before your water is ready.
  • Once you're ready to fill your jars, place a sauce pan on the stove. Add your canning lids and fill pan with several inches of water. Bring the water to a simmer and allow the sealing wax on the lids to soften for several minutes.
  • Fill sterilized jars with hot apple butter leaving ¼ inch head space at the top. Remove air bubbles with a knife, wipe the rims with a clean damp rag, place lids on top and fasten ring until fingertip tight.
  • Place sealed jars on a rack in the canner or stock pot. Make sure jars are covered with water and that the waterline is about an inch over the top of the jars, then cover pot with lid.

You do not want the jars coming into contact with the bottom of the canner or stock pot because they will bounce around and likely break.

Processing times for this recipe

are 10 minutes for elevations of 0-1,000 ft and 15 minutes for elevations of 1,001-6,000 ft. These times are for quarter-pints, half-pints and pints only.

  • Process half pints and pints for 10 minutes, adjusting for altitude. Time starts once the water has come to a complete boil again. You may need to add boiling water to keep the water level up as the jars are processing.
  • Remove jars from canner, set on a clean dish towel, and let them rest for several hours until cool. You should hear a popping sound as the lids seal. 
  • To check the seals of your jars press the center gently with your finger. If it moves up and down the jar is not sealed. You can either reprocess using a new lid never reuse an old lid or once the jar is cool, eat the apple butter. You know you want to and you deserve the treat after such hard work!
  • Label with detailed contents and date, then store in a cool, dark, and dry place.

Other Notes

I decided to use Galla apples for this recipe because they are naturally sweet which meant I could use less sugar. If you use another variety, especially one that is tart, you may need to increase the amount of sugar.