Some time ago, in a kitchen in East Van, a woman spilled some of her Powell Street Dive Bomb Porter into the pot where she was browning cubed venison. Instead of it ruining her dinner plan, she poured more beer into the pot, added a little beef broth and continued to make her Fall stew. Alas, a new flavour was born, ending the cycle of the same old chunky meat soup she served her household and there was great rejoicing.
Not as epic as the opening paragraph of Star Wars: A New Hope, but it’s the best I can do without attaching copywrited music to this post and a poorly made video of words scrolling up your screen – my skills on the computer are nowhere near that good. As Fall is my favourite season in the kitchen, I thought I would write up one of my favourite recipes. A note on my cooking style: I rarely use measuring cups, especially when making soups so the amounts listed have been guess-timated. Another note: you can substitute nearly any meat (poultry and fish won’t work very well though, so don’t try those) I happened to have venison from Mayne Island and found it to be AMAZING in a stew. One more note: feel free to add or subtract vegetables, and play with the size you cut things to fit your family.
1 tbsp unsalted butter
1 med onion, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 lbs venison, 1-in cubes
2 Tbsp flour
1 cup Powell Street Dive Bomb Porter (or any Porter or Stout really)
2 cups beef stock
2 bay leaves
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
1 Lg potato, cut into 1-in cubes (peeled or not, depends on your style)
1 Lg Yam, peeled, cut into 1-in cubes
2 parsnips, peeled, roughly cut into 1-in cubes
2 cups butternut squash, peeled, cut into 1-in cubes
salt and pepper to taste
In large pot/Dutch Oven melt butter, add onions and garlic over med heat. Cook until transparent (about 5 minutes).
Add venison and brown on all sides.
Add flour and stir.
Deglaze with Porter (fancy term for pour the beer in and stir)
Add beef stock, salt, pepper, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil.
Pour the rest of the beer in a glass, turn heat down to low, cover pot, set timer for 2 hours and put on your favourite Star Wars movie. Watch and drink beer, refilling glass when necessary.
Check meat and if tender, add all vegetables and cook until tender (about 30 minutes)
Remove bay leaves, add salt and pepper to taste (MAKE SURE YOU TASTE THE STEW AT THIS POINT!!!!!)
Another seasoning I like to add to this one for even deeper flavour is Rick’s Aztec Rub. It is locally made by the handsomest chef I have met, and can be found in many of your local grocery stores (I have 100% seen it at Buy Low on Broadway and Kingsway). Rick wears bow ties and the best glasses – mentioned in case you still need to be persuaded to buy the spice. Add 1 tsp at a time and TASTE.
Serve a steaming bowl of this with fresh buttermilk biscuits or your favourite artisan bread and wow the people you are feeding!