True North Pride

I felt very Canadian this weekend.

Saturday morning, I woke up to my alarm set for 6:00AM. I had to wake up my son to take him to timbits hockey practice. If that isn’t Canadian enough, while he was having some breakfast, I got my winter coat out of storage so I could scrape the ice and snow off the van…in the dark.

After piling him into the van, sleepy eyes and hockey stick in hand, I put on my Olympic red mittens from the Bay and drove to Tim Hortons to buy a coffee. Not a double double…but still super Canadian, no?

Pulling up to the hockey rink, I smiled. There is a something about being Canadian that is incredibly special. Yes, I’ve complained about the cold and snow (although you read my post about trying to embrace it here) but we all do it…we’re Canadian! We live here, we love it, but we’re chilly sometimes! It gives us a reason to have hot chocolate.20141101_065504

Or moose.

Ok, we don’t all eat moose. But a friend of mine gave me a roast of moose meat recently. Her husband hunts and brought home a significant amount of meat…and I’m totally lucky she gave me some! I was SO excited! I’d never had moose before and I love to experiment. I’m sure not everyone would be as excited as me to get a bunch of raw meat…but I suppose I’m in the right business.

First…why moose? Well, compared to beef, it is a much leaner meat. Gram for gram, moose has less calories, less fat and more protein. So far, so good!

Add this: Compared to beef, moose is lower in sodium and higher in potassium…so basically eating moose makes your heart stronger. It’s also a pretty good source of zinc and iron, vital to immune system functions. Strong and immune? Hello super meat!20141101_090731

So…to complete my Canadian day of pride, what better to serve friends than a hunk of local moose meat?

But how to cook it? I did some research and found because moose is so lean, it is best cooked LOW and SLOW. My Dad is famous for this method so I figured…I’ve got this.20141101_182505

Two words: MOOSE STEW

Make that three words…AWESOME MOOSE STEW!

I have a great recipe for slow cooker beef stew and although it would’ve been easy to replicate it with moose instead of beef, I wanted to kick it up a notch. The only way I figured I could do this was by adding…maple syrup…and beer. GO CANADA!

Ok, so I added Guinness. Not the most Canadian (AT ALL) I realize. And in retrospect, there are many fantastic Canadian stouts I could’ve chosen…but I already had a can of Guinness and well, I ALREADY HAD IT. Plus, I was making this at 9:00AM on a Saturday morning. I couldn’t exactly run out and pick up a case of beer. I promise next time I make moose stew it will be all Canadian…deal?20141101_092642

I’m not going to lie to you. Cooking this stew in the slow cooker all day does NOT make your house smell like a regular beef stew (which I love). It smells…different. It made me nervous. All in all, it turned out DELICIOUS but I would recommend maybe turning it on and leaving the house for a few hours until the smell of sweaty dead moose is gone. It’s not a pretty smell, I have to warn you! But so worth it. Really.

Let’s get to the nitty gritty. And if you’ve read any of this blog before, you know I’m all about ease when it comes to recipes. This one is no different.

Ingredients:

  • 3-5 pounds of moose meat (We had a round roast)
  • 2 tbsp. whole wheat flour
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 sweet (Vidalia) onion, diced
  • 4 carrots, diced (SUPER CHUNKY)
  • 4-6 potatoes, diced (SUPER CHUNKY)
  • 2 ribs celery, sliced
  • 3/4 of a tiny can of tomato paste (about 100ml)
  • 2 cups low sodium beef broth (Just TRY to find moose broth)
  • 3/4 can of Guinness (Or Canadian stout)
  • 2 tbsp. maple syrup
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tbsp. Worcestershire
  • 2 tbsp. low sodium soy sauce
  • 5-6 shakes tobasco
  • 1-2 drops liquid smoke (optional)
  • 2 tbsp. arrowroot powder (or cornstarch)

I used a 4 Ouart slow cooker that I remember my Mom using when I was growing up. I had a 7 Quart one, but it recently broke…it was a sad day…I was not a-moosed…get it? Ok, just let me have that one. Thank goodness I had another slow cooker! And it JUST fit everything, barely. So if you have a bigger one, feel free to use it.

Here’s what I did:

Chop up the moose meat into big chunks, dry it off and toss the chunks in flour. Brown the sides of the meat in olive oil and throw into the slow cooker. Don’t do all the meat at once.20141101_091515

Add in your chopped onions, carrots, potatoes and celery. Toss it up a bit with the meat.

Whisk all the other ingredients EXCEPT the arrowroot powder in a separate bowl. Pour over the meat and veggies in the slow cooker. Put on the lid and leave on high for 8 hours. Drink the remaining beer. Get out of the house and escape the smell for a bit.

With about three hours left, I opened the lid, gave it a stir and made sure everything was submerged in the liquid. If I had any room in there, I WOULD HAVE added some sweet potato and peas…but oh well. No room. It wasn’t a moose-t have…ok, I’ll stop.

Once the 8 hours is up, I took out about 1/2 cup of broth and mixed in the arrowroot powder (or cornstarch). I dumped it back in and gave it a gentle stir.20141101_093252

Serve it up on a parsnip mash or as I did, with homemade whole wheat buns (recipe here). Serves about 6 extra large bowls with maybe some leftovers for lunch.20141101_182441

On a chilly Canadian night, this was the perfect meal to serve to friends. They all agreed that this moose stew was a success. A perfect end to a perfect day.

Oh wait, no…that wasn’t the end. Then we watched a HOCKEY game! On CBC. And the Leafs won! THAT was the perfect end to a perfectly proud Canadian day.

True North, Strong (like Moose) and Free.

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