Ahh, yes. Winter’s coming upon us, and it makes me feel like curling up near a blazing fire and throwing a good venison stew in the crockpot. This original recipe is on the starchy side with my choice of veggies, but you can certainly put in whatever you’d like. If you’re struggling with candida, I’d suggest broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, onions, green peppers. . .
Just the thought of making a venison stew reminds me of the first and only time I went deer hunting.
But, before I get started on that story, I’ll give you the stew recipe. I’ll warn you though, I don’t do much measuring for this one. And I just let it cook ’til’ it’s done’.
Crockpot Venison Stew (casein-free, egg-free, gluten-free, nut-free, sugar-free, yeast-free)
2 lbs. raw venison stew meat or roast, cut into chunks
2 quarts water
1 onion, cut into chunks
1 celery stalk, diced
3 carrots, diced
2 1/2 c. whole kernel corn
3 medium potatoes, diced
2 t. Cavender’s All-Purpose Greek Seasoning, Salt Free*
celtic sea salt, to taste
pepper, to taste
1/2 c. arrowroot powder
1. Cut all veggies to desired size; chunky or diced small.
2. Dump everything but the arrowroot into the crockpot and cook on high about 2-3 hrs. or on low about 4-5 hrs. until potatoes are soft and meat is cooked through.
3. About 1/2 hr. or so before you want to eat, mix the arrowroot with just a bit of cold water to dissolve it and add it to the stew. You can use more or less to thicken to your liking.
*Cavender’s All-Purpose Greek Seasoning is one of my all time favorites. We use it on roasts, venison, fish, chicken, steaks, etc. Sometimes we even use it on baked potatoes and steamed vegetables. Cavender’s Greek Seasoning Salt Free is gluten-free. (You can find it in the spice section in nearly any grocery store.)
Venison stew is such a ‘comfort’ food. It fills up your tummy and makes you warm from your head to your toes. Definitely a winter food. Even if you’re not a hunter.
Speaking of hunting. . .
Travis is a deer hunter. He loves it. So being the considerate new husband he was, he asked if I’d like to go along with him the first winter we were married.
I’d never been hunting before but what I recalled from my dad’s hunting trips was that he’d head out to his deer stand with a little propane heater, a thermos of hot cocoa, some sandwiches and snacks, and wouldn’t return until the sun sank below the horizon.
Did I want to spend an entire day in a deer stand with my sweetheart? Alone. With a little heater and a thermos of cocoa? We could hold hands. We could talk about our future. We could talk about our future children. We could talk about our future grandchildren.
Can you see me? There I was looking up at him with stars in my eyes and a goofy grin plastered on my face. More time with my honey-bunny? Absolutely!
So we purchased deer licenses, packed warm socks and plenty of clothes and headed home to his family farm. The house was abuzz with deer hunters, deer hunting paraphernalia, and stories about the one that got away.
Travis went to bed dreaming of a thirty pointer and I went to bed dreaming of the romantic day to come.
The hunting trip
My first clue that things weren’t going to go as planned was the blaring alarm clock at 4:30 a.m. But hey, that just meant more hours with my beloved. I could handle this. We crammed four or five of us bleary-eyed, orange-clad hunters into his uncle’s pick-up and headed down the road.
As we neared a small grove of trees I smiled in anticipation. I couldn’t wait to get into the stand and turn on the little heater. Mmmm, hot cocoa would be just the thing to wake me up.
But. . .we passed the grove.
Soon we stopped beside an open field. Everyone toppled out and began pulling their weapons of choice from the back of the truck.
But wait. Where were the woods? Where was the deer stand? And why hadn’t Travis brought along the little heater? I must have looked slightly confused because Travis walked over to me and began explaining the hunting procedure.
We walk the fields. Alone. No talking.
But honey, when do we sit in the deer stand?
Okay, so at least he gets some points for not laughing out loud. But the look in his blue eyes said he sure wanted to. Hmm. Maybe not too many points.
Apparently, in southern Minnesota they don’t sit in deer stands; there aren’t enough trees and groves. It seems that somewhere in the state an invisible line separates rifle-deer-stand-hunting to shotgun-walking-the-fields-hunting.
Guess which side of the line we were on.
And I’d like to know who invented this line! Why didn’t anyone warn unsuspecting female newlyweds that there wasn’t going to be a propane-heater-hot-cocoa-thermos-day-with-their-husbands!?
Uh, can I have a raincheck, please?
But no, I walked the field. And I walked the next one. And I walked the one after that. By ten o’clock I was tired. By noon I was exhausted. All I wanted was a hot shower and a warm bed. Okay, forget the shower, I just wanted a bed.
When we finally crawled under the covers that night, Travis turned to me and told me we got to do it all over again the next day.
He sounded way too excited.
I thought about hitting him with my pillow.
I think I fell asleep before the thought fully formed.
And, because I was crazy, I went out again the next day.
Then, just as the sun was setting on my first hunting trip, I saw Travis pause several yards ahead of me. He knelt on the ground, took aim, and fired.
So it ended well, this hunting saga. Travis shot a nice large buck – 15 points. We had him stuffed and named him Gus, and now he sits on the den wall next to the cozy fireplace.
And I got to take my nap. In a warm bed.:)
So even though southern Minnesota hunting trips aren’t all their cracked up to be, I can’t dismiss them entirely. They make for delicious venison stew.
If you’re living in the arctic north, make this a caribou stew. If you and your honey aren’t hunters, make it a beef stew. If you don’t like beef, make it a chicken stew. You get the idea.
Try it, just once. It will warm up your tummy – and your honey.
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