Tuesday, October 19, 2010
I think those glorious 70 degree days of the last few weeks have now past. Leaves are dropping faster than we can rake them up. Winter coats are coming out along with frosty windshields in the early AM hours. I no longer fool myself into thinking just the afternoon sun streaming through the windows is going to keep our tiny house warm - the heater is now on for the season. My friendly backyard neighbors will finally start harvesting their backyard apples, since a good overnight frrost makes them "so much sweeter." Remind me that I'm going to have to finally pull my last tomato and zucchini plants out...
Now this is the autumn I love: crisp, cool-nearing-on-cold, sweaters and hot apple cider. Bring it on.
We took Ben to Papa's Pumpkin Patch last weekend. I'm so thankful there are places like this in Bismarck. Just old-fashioned fun with hayrides, a corn maze, ziplines and huge stacks of haybales for kids to run around, and my favorite part, 50 cent hot apple cider with a 25 cent pumpkin cookie.
Ben was a little too young to be tromping around on the haybales, but he sure was a big man pulling this little wagon around all afternoon. "Sorry, mom. Riding in the wagon is for babies." He pulled that wagon and watched the other kids run around, mentally taking notes for next year when his little legs will be able to go a little faster. He watched the little train pass by, the driver ringing his bell every time he caught Ben staring at him in wonder. He watched the big horses clomp around, pulling the hayride wagon filled with people with seemingly no effort. And then he found out, after an afternoon of pulling a wagon himself, a pumpkin can make a pretty decent seat.
Finally, the chill got to us and we came home. With the opening of deer season right around the corner, I've been clearing out room in the deep freeze. With a few packages of last season's deer meat to use up, a big pot of venison stew was just what the doctor ordered. I dare say this stew is as near classic as it gets - big chunks of meat, carrots, and potatoes in a thick broth. Simple perfection. This is exactly what we needed after an autumn day outside romping in the pumpkin patch, rosy cheeked and hungry.
I heart autumn.
When Kent butchers our annual deer, he pulls even the pieces that are too small to be cut into steaks and puts it in a bag labeled as stew meat, although cutting up deer steaks would be perfectly acceptable too. Adapted from AllRecipes.
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 pounds venison stew meat
2 onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped
1 tablespoon salt
3 cups water
3-4 tomatoes, chopped (or one 14.5-oz can diced tomatoes)
7 small red potatoes, quartered
1 pound carrots, cut into 1 inch pieces (or a bag of baby carrots)
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup cold water
In a large pot or Dutch oven, brown the meat in oil. Add onions and garlic, sauteeing for 3-4 minutes to soften the onion. Add Worcestershire sauce, bay leaf, oregano, salt, water, and tomatoes. Simmer, covered, for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until meat is tender. Add potatoes and carrots; cook until tender (another 1-2 hours). Combine cornstarch and water. Stir into the stew. Remove bay leaf before serving.
Posted by Rhubarb and Venison at 8:50 PM