day five - venison stew with herb dumplings
Today’s recipe comes from Bree, a township east of The Shire.
Venison originally described any meat of a game animal killed by hunting, such as deer, elk, wild hares and boar. Today, it is almost exclusively used to describe meat from a deer. For this recipe, I used deer venison, locally sourced and according to where it was purchased, hunted with a bow and arrows.
You can purchase venison steaks from any whole foods or organic store, specialty shops and butchers, or ethnic markets. Suet (pronounced “soo-et”), another ingredient in this recipe, is available at any butcher shop for ridiculously cheap. It is mutton fat from around the loins or kidneys. If you can’t find it, or don’t want to use it, substitute it with shortening.
I also used ale in this recipe. If you’re underage in your area, use equal amounts of beef broth.
Venison Stew with Herb Dumplings - Ingredients
2 1/2 lbs venison
1 large red onion, sliced
3 starchy potatoes, such as russet, thinly sliced
5 large carrots, sliced
1 cup fresh peas
1/4 cup flour
2 cups of ale or beef broth
2 bay leaves
1 tbsp butter
salt and pepper
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
3 tbsp curled parsley, finely chopped
1/2 cup shredded suet (or shortening)
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup cold water
Preheat oven to 325 degrees fahrenheit. Melt butter in a pan over medium heat and add the onion. Cook until onions are softened, about five minutes. Add venison and brown all over, about 10 minutes. Allow to cool until venison can be handled, then transfer the meat to a bowl and add flour. Stir until meat is covered. Transfer meat and onions to a baking dish and add potatoes, peas and carrots. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Pour ale (or broth) into the flour bowl and stir until well combined. Pour gently into baking dish. Add bay leaves, cover and cook for 2 hours.
In a bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, salt and parsley. Add the suet, stirring well to combine. Add just enough water to make a dough that is not sticky and able to form small balls of dough (the dumplings). When the stew has cooked for two hours, carefully remove from oven, drop dumpling on top of stew, return to the oven and cook for another hour, or until dumplings are lightly browned and fluffy.