Winter Solstice Stew

A robust and delicious meat stew with simple, humble and inexpensive ingredients that are easy-to-find staples you likely already have. This recipe can be made with any type of stewing meat as the flavors are incredibly versatile. I used elk because it’s easily available up here in Canada and I really enjoy the flavor, texture and conceptual strength associated with this animal.

The perfect recipe for the first day of winter and a winter solstice celebration.

Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home.

~ Edith Sitwell

If fresh herbs aren’t an option for you, dried herbs will work fine. I grate the carrots in all of my soups and stews as I find that it enhances the flavor and avoids bites of mushy carrots – texture is everything! 😉  If you don’t have a slow-cooker or crock pot, a large pot on your stove on low-medium will work too, though you may want to do it during the day so you can watch it more closely. 

This recipe makes about 4 – 6 bowls.

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Ingredients:
Elk Meat
Onion, 1 medium
Garlic, 2 cloves
Potatoes, 3 small
Carrots, 2 medium
Celery, 1 large stalk
Worcestershire Sauce, about 5 lugs
Sage, 1 sprig or about 7 leaves
Thyme, 4 sprigs
Rosemary, 1 sprig
Salt + Pepper
Butter, about 2 tbsp
Bone Broth or Veggie Broth, 2 cups

What else you’ll need:
Knife
Cutting Board
Slow cooker or Crock pot
Skillet (preferably high quality cast iron)
Spoon or Spatula


Prep:

  • If using a roast or larger cut of meat, cut meat into large rough cubes, about 1 inch square, some can be a bit bigger
  • Chop onions, medium dice
  • Mince or very finely chop garlic
  • Remove leaves from the stems of the rosemary, thyme and sage. Collect them in a pile and finely mince them together.
  • Cut potatoes into ½ – ¾ inch cubes
  • Dice celery into small cubes
  • Shred carrots using the largest hole size on a cheese grater

Instructions

  1. In a skillet melt about 1 tbsp of butter on medium. Add meat, brown meat on all sides about 3 minutes.
  2. Add onions and cook until onions are nearly translucent, 3 minutes. Add garlic and herb mixture, stir and cook another minute or two.
  3. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Stir everything and with your spoon or spatula grind off any crunchy bits that may have attached to the pan. Add about a tbsp of broth to the meat mix, stir well and transfer into the slow cooker.
  4. Add remaining broth to the crock pot and turn onto medium-high.
  5. Return skillet to heated burner and add 1 tbsp butter.
  6. Put potatoes in the pan and brown for about 3 minutes.
  7. Add celery and carrots. Cook for another couple of minutes. Add lugs of Worcestershire Sauce, and sprinkle of salt and pepper (about ½ tsp of salt, pepper to preference, I like about 5 crunches of the pepper grinder). Stir and cook another minute or two.
  8. Stir again, grind off any crusty bits from the bottom of the pan and transfer into the slow cooker.
  9. Gently stir the crock pot ingredients. Add about 2 more cups of filtered water. Gently push the bulky ingredients down so that they are submerged in broth. You’ll want at least an inch or two of liquid above the bulky ingredients – depending on the size of your crock you may need to add more water.
  10. Cook on medium/high overnight or until you are ready to eat.

    img_3243

    May I be peaceful.
    May I be happy.
    May I be well.
    May I be safe.
    May I be free from suffering.

    May all beings be peaceful.
    May all beings be happy.
    May all beings be well.
    May all beings be safe.
    May all beings be free from suffering.  

    Happy Winter Solstice!

    Tuck in and rejoice as we welcome the return of the sun and it’s light. 

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