In 2009, Hurricane Ike would barrel through Texas and wreak havoc bringing flooding rains and 110 mile per hour winds. Even folks in East Texas couldn't get out the way as the trees in my back yard were almost laying down due to it's strength.
After the storm, I received a phone call from my panic stricken mother that they were without electricity and I had to come immediately to power up the freezer. Not the air-conditioner. Not the lighting. The freezer.
To give you some background, this freezer holds what I would estimate to be at least twenty thousand dollars worth of game that my father has killed. Is the meat worth that? By the time you factor in the leases, the shells, the dogs, the trailers, the training and the time, I'm probably under estimating the number.
Over the years, my mother has become what I would call a highly practiced Doctor of Freezology. As the game came in, she had to immediately figure out new and creative ways of keeping it without developing freezer burn. With such a highly developed skill set as this, I would wager that there may be some quail in that freezer from as far back as 1975. I joke with my father all the time as I believe that when he dies, she'll freeze him as well. We can take him out over the holidays and sit him up in a chair as long as he's not too close to the fire place.
The issue for most women is what to do with all this meat so when I received a call from Leigh Vickery that she would like to do a father son piece in the paper featuring Homer who also loves to cook, the meal choice was obvious to me.
This is a deer camp stew that uses deer meat. Now I know that some of you are already turning up your nose as you may not care for the taste of venison which is why you probably have so much of it turned into sausage.
However, this recipe uses a lot of herbs and spices that cut through the meat yielding a nice hot flavorful stew for such cold evenings as we've been having lately.
Deer Camp Venison Stew
6 Tbs olive oil, divided in half
2 lbs venison tenderloin cut into 1-inch cubes
1 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp ground cumin, divided in half
2 large white onions, cut in 8 pieces each
5 cups of beef stock
3 cups of water
4 cloves garlic, minced
9 medium sized red potatoes, cut in half
4 ears of corn, cut into fourths
2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks
1/2 cup coarsely chopped cilantro
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
Heat 3 Tbs of the oil in your favorite stew pot. Stir-fry meat with 1 tsp garlic powder and 1 tsp ground cumin browning your meat. Remove meat from the pot and place to the side. Add remaining oil and add onion and tsp of cumin. Cook until onion is nice and soft. Add all remaining ingredients as well as meat into the pot and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 2 hours stirring occasionally. Add beef stock when needed. Serve with flour tortillas.
Note: This is deer meat and it's always lean which means you'll need to stew it more.
You'll want that meat to fall apart and the more you simmer it, the more tender it will become.
I would serve this with a nice Merlot. Milk for you Homer.
Above image taken from the Tyler Morning Telegraph. Photos by Christopher R. Vinn