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. 

Choose Your Own Grilled Cheese Adventure #ZPocEating

When the world is coming to an end and there are zombies everywhere you don't have time for anything fancy. Grab the first can of tomato soup you find, a baguette, Velveeta cheese slices, and some butter then make up a batch of mini grilled cheese sandwiches. They're a great on-the-go snack and when the zombies attack you'll need something to munch on as you run for your lives. I know you were smart enough to pack a cast iron skillet in your bug-out bag— they do double as a weapon after all. You should probably also pack a copy of Lauren Wilson's new book The Art of Eating through the Zombie Apocalypse: A Cookbook and Culinary Survival Guide for some handy and hilarious survival tips and culinary suggestions such as today's choose your own grilled cheese adventure. I hope you enjoy today's recipe, check back tomorrow for a full review of the book.


Mini Grilled Cheese Sandwiches


1 Baguette, thinly sliced
Velveeta or Kraft singles
salted butter
1 can of tomato soup or tomato sauce


Cast iron skillet


  • Slice the baguette into small rounds, butter one side, add ¼ of a Velveeta cheese slice and top with another buttered baguette slice. Place in a cast iron skillet and grill on medium heat until golden-brown.
  • Flip the sandwich and repeat until both sides are browned and the cheese is melted.
  • Serve immediately with a side of tomato soup for dipping, or eat as-is.


If you don't have a can of tomato soup we've found that tomato sauce works well for dipping, plus it doesn't contain the artificial ingredients you'll find in a can of condensed soup (Not that it will matter during Zpoc, I'm pretty sure healthy eating will go right out the window once you have a hored of zombies chasing after you.)

Here are some helpful tips from The Art of Eating through the Zombie Apocalypse: A Cookbook and Culinary Survival Guide by Lauren Wilson (reprinted with permission from BenBella Books, Inc)

Choose Your Own Grilled Cheese Adventure

When the power goes out and you are looking for a way to use up bread and cheese, I mean, really—duh. Could there be a more perfect initial outbreak survival food? Grilled cheese sandwiches have it all—they are high in calories, and they contain fat, protein, and carbs. An ooey-gooey grilled cheese is one of the few foods that can remind you that life is still worth living and comes together in less than 10 minutes.

Plus, they offer an excellent opportunity for culinary improvisation. Along with the cheese, you can shove almost any ingredient between those two slices of bread. When melted, the cheese will act as a binder, making it a self-contained zpoc superfood. And if before biting into your perfect sandwich you happen to get distracted by the ever-growing number of biters outside, don’t fret! Virtually all grilled cheese sandwiches will taste just fine cold.

Many of the ingredients here might challenge your preconceived notions of “grilled cheese”—but hey, preconceived notions are so pre-apocalypse. It’s supposed to be a grilled cheese adventure, right?

Quick Tips

According to grilled cheese guru and James Beard Award–winning author Laura Werlin, there are a few foundations any grilled cheese adventurer should know:

  • Grate your cheese—to achieve consistent and quicker melting.
  • Get the right cheese-to-bread ratio— more cheese than bread, or “thick cheese thin bread.” Trim your bread down if you need to.
  • Spread the bread, not the pan— whether using butter, oil, mayo, bacon fat, what have you, spreading onto the bread directly will ensure better and more even crisping.
  • Use a nonstick pan—cast iron is great, but who has time to waste with sticking during the zpoc?
  • Flatten while cooking—use a light weight (a foil-wrapped can works great) or you can simply press with the spatula when you flip.
  • Go slow—keep the heat at medium or lower to allow the cheese to melt before the bread burns.
  • Cool it—let the sandwich cool for at least a few minutes before eating, it will taste much better this way.

To these most excellent tips I would add one further consideration of proportions, particularly when it comes to strong flavors. Strong cheeses like blue or Parmesan, sweet additions like jam, or strong mix-ins like bacon, kimchi, or olives can quickly overpower other flavors in the sandwich, so use them sparingly. Try to give thought, even if cursory, to achieving harmony in your GC—a happy ending to your adventure, so to speak.

Inspiration for Building a Great Grilled Cheese Sandwich

The categories here are by no means exhaustive, but use them as a jumping-off point to mix and match according to what you have on hand and your own personal apocalyptic flair.


Bagel, Baguette, Brioche, Challah, Ciabatta, Classic white Wonder, English muffin, Multigrain, Olive (or any flavored!) bread, Potato roll, Pumpernickel, Rye, Sourdough 


American, Blue (like Roquefort, Stilton, or Gorgonzola), Brie, Cheddar, Cream cheese, Emmental, Gouda, Gruyere, Havarti, Manchego, Monterey Jack, Mozzarella, Parmigiano, Reggiano, Pecorino, Ricotta, Taleggio

Textural Enhancers

Blanched fresh veggies (like broccoli rabe, green beans, peas, and/or Brussels sprouts), Chips! (Corn, potato, whatever you’ve got), Pickled cukes, jalapenos, or banana peppers, Seasoned crushed instant ramen noodles, Toasted chopped nuts

Flavor Bombs

Bacon, Browned and seasoned ground meat, Canned tuna, Caramelized onions, Cold cuts, Fried Spam

Huitlacoche, Minced fresh herbs, Prepared horseradish, Sauerkraut, Sauteed mushrooms, Sauteed or roasted garlic, Sliced hot dogs


Adobo, BBQ sauce, Creamy salad dressings, Harissa, Ketchup, Mayo, Mustard (grainy, Dijon, yellow, Deli, etc.), Salsa, Sambal Oelek, Sriracha


Canned fruits (esp. pineapple and peach), Dried fruits, Fig jam, Honey, Maple syrup, Marmalade


This book was sent to me for review by BenBella Books, Inc. As always, all opinions are my own. 

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